My parents divorced when I was just 8 years old. When my father left, it was just my older brother, my mom, and me. There’s no doubt that my mom is my best friend. She has been with me since day 1 and has helped me at my lowest and celebrated with me at my highest. Through everything though, she has taught me a few things that I have really pondered on this year that I would like to share with Indiana FFA:
Never leave the house without saying I Love You. We simply aren’t ever guaranteed a safe return home. Because of this, I was raised to always say I Love You when I leave the house so that, if for some reason my time comes to an end once I leave, my loved ones know that I love them.
Don’t go to bed angry. Think about the last time you were in an argument with someone and went to bed still angry at them. What was that argument about? Would a simple conversation have solved everything? Again, it’s one of those things that we're never guaranteed tomorrow. Plus, being angry for too long can truly damage a relationship.
Be kind. It’s short, sweet, and simple. Kindness is key in this world. My mom taught me that it’s not cute or cool to be rude or disrespectful to others, but we can do a lot of good in this world if we just choose kindness.
Love Yourself. This was a lesson I struggled with for a while. I couldn’t talk right and I was super insecure about my body image. My mom would continuously tell me, “Julia, just love yourself. You are perfect.” We are all unique in our own ways, and that diversity should be a push to love ourselves.
A leader isn’t always the boss. We all have our own leadership styles. Sometimes, the strongest leaders are those who are actively listening and not talking or guiding as much. I’ve learned that this is more of my leadership style, and to embrace it.
It’s not cool to be selfish. This advice dates back to a school trip I took in 7th grade where a group of girls stuck together and tried a bit too hard to show off and get attention. My mom told me, “Don’t be an all about me person. There’s no I in Team.” When you’re just focused on yourself and only yourself, at least to my mom and I, it doesn’t look cool, but it looks foolish. Selflessness can go a long way.
I think my teammates can attest that my mom, Marijo, is a pretty wise person who has been through a lot and has taught me how to live. I hate to admit it but, my mom is right 99.99% of the time and knows what she’s talking about. Middle school Julia would be furious that I’m admitting this, but she really does know best. This is just a snippet of the advice she has given me in my 19 years, as she has truly guided me through everything I’ve gone through. I encourage everyone to read through these pieces and see how we can incorporate them into our own lives.
Always following Mom’s word,
2020-2021 Indiana FFA State President