When I was growing up my family didn’t have streaming services. We tried to get Netflix once but our wifi was too slow for streaming shows and it was not until very recently that we upgraded our wifi to manageable levels. Because of this, I missed out on some of the most popular shows out there. I never watched the Office, Yellowstone, or countless other icons. So when I got elected to state office- and had access to every streaming service you can imagine, thanks to my wonderful teammate- I knew it was time to start catching up. While I have watched the shows I mentioned I quickly became obsessed with the series Criminal Minds. I do not know what got me hooked whether it was the cast or the brain-stumping mysteries, but I do know that pretty soon I started thinking like the characters from the show. I was analyzing different things and even had some weird dreams about solving crimes, but those are stories for another time. I did notice that I started picking up some pretty great advice from the show.
First off was the idea of a team leader. In FFA we are often called upon to be leaders. In Criminal Minds, the team has its leader, Jason Gideon. Surprisingly enough he’s taught me some important things about being a good leader. First off is that you have to listen to the advice of others. In the show, Gideon will lead his team into a crime scene to start profiling a killer. Of course, he has his perception of the killer but always asks what his teammates' opinions are first. He realized that to be a good leader you need to listen to what your team has to say. Similarly in FFA when leading others we need to ask what their opinions are. Their strengths will help cover our weaknesses and lead to a better job.
This leads me to the next point, learning opportunities can come from anywhere. After asking his team for their opinions he gives his own opinion on a crime. But instead of just telling them he helps them to understand where he is coming from. Oftentimes it is the small things that he catches and teaches the others to catch as well. Most of the time by the end of the episode the other detectives are using the same techniques that Gideon just taught them. Again this advice is very prevalent in our FFA careers. While activities like our SAEs, CDEs, and LDEs, and conferences are great ways to learn, FFA is full of those small opportunities to learn. Oftentimes through small interactions with other members, we learn so much. But not only in FFA, in life in general. I know back in high school that I had teachers who when asked a question would answer with their own so that you would have to find the answer out. While I always disliked this, looking back it was those small learning experiences that taught me the most.
That leads me to my last point. The smallest things are often the most important. In almost every episode the criminal is caught because of small details. Oftentimes it takes the entire episode to discover the detail but it has a serious impact on the case. Just like how we can learn so much from the small interactions with other members, those same members can be impacted by the small things that we do. This impact can go either way. Either we can inspire, encourage, and make others happy. Or our small actions can make others sad, discouraged, and lonely.
When I started watching criminal minds I had no expectations to learn lessons that I would use in my state officer year. But the more I watched the more I learned. Some of the best advice I have found is from the most unlikely places.
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