I can be SOOOO annoying. When I was a freshman at Rushville, I received our “Leader of the Month” award for (and I quote) “always walking through the ag building with purpose.” Literally, what does that mean? IDK. In the moment, I didn’t really care though. I was so proud of myself and happy to be recognized. Upon reflection, I definitely think that it was a kind way for my advisors to call me annoying and persistent. (see freshman Nicholas below) But still, little Nicholas began to use that as his life motto: walk with purpose. Because I have found that it is those people that walk with purpose that are the most successful.
Recently, the state officers had the distinct pleasure to speak with Isabella Chism, one of the most powerful women we have ever met. Despite not having a college degree or growing up with an agricultural background, she found her way to a position of influence as the 2nd Vice President of IN Farm Bureau. (Honestly, I wish she would give a TedTalk. She is that cool.) Mrs. Chism was elected to her position because of her drive and passion for INFB. She held herself with distinction; she walked with purpose. Be like Isabella Chism. Walk with purpose.
Last week, Tyler and I had the opportunity to speak with Melissa Miller (an FFA Icon) on Shine 99 radio and Hoosierland TV. During the interview, she asked us why we became involved with FFA. A pretty basic question tbh. My answer though? That FFA was a cohort of passionate people. When I was in school, I often did not see eye to eye with many of my classmates. They simply didn’t have the same values or goals that I did. However, it was the people within FFA that saw and understood my passions. They saw further than a football game or a homework assignment or a television show. They saw opportunity.
With National FFA Week quickly approaching (*in Tom’s voice from Parks and Rec* “the best week of the year”), FFA members have the unique opportunity to use their voice to advocate for what they are passionate about. Do you think many students have the chance to advocate with legislators (this is a shameless plug for Advocacy Day at the Indiana Statehouse. Check it out.)? No. Do you think many students give statements to their local press? No. Do you think that many students plan and execute entire events? NO. But, FFA members do; FFA creates students that know how to use their voice and how to self-advocate. I challenge you to use your platform, as a student, as a leader, as an athlete, to advocate for what you believe in. Speak with passion.
Do I realize that my passion can be pushy? Do I acknowledge that others do not understand my persistence? Oh yeah. Like I said, annoyingggg. Just ask my team or my parents or my teachers or my advisors. And yet, it is that purpose, passion, and persistence that have led me here today. It is by never stopping to think about what can’t be done. It is by being confident in my values and persistent in my goals. That is why I am proud of the life that I have created. As we enter National FFA week, I challenge you to believe in your own power. Walk with purpose; speak with passion.
Forever walking with purpose,