By Cole Pearson
As a freshman at Delphi High School, I was indecisive about what I wanted to do. I didn’t feel pulled in any direction. It was difficult to tell people my college plans because I didn’t know them. I wanted to do something worthwhile. I wanted to make a difference, but I didn’t know how.
That’s when my agriculture teacher, Doug Walker, encouraged me to run for a district office through FFA. He gave me more responsibility, and I became more involved. His subtle nudges in the right direction set me up for taking on responsibilities in other aspects of life. Looking to him for guidance helped me seek out constructive criticism and continue to improve myself.
I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for encouragement from people in my life who poured in positivity and advice. My youth pastor gave me opportunities to give messages at church. He helped me with those messages so I could better convey my points. My parents supported me in my wanting to get involved with FFA on the district level by helping at contests and letting me drive to events. My grandparents always told me how proud they were. This year I realized something about who I can receive encouragement from.
In January, my state FFA officer team was on our keynote training retreat. We worked on developing the overall message we wanted to convey while speaking during banquet season. The ideas of love, contentment and respect were so grandiose in our minds, we weren’t sure if we could properly convey them. We’re still working to embody them in our own lives.
Be an adviser
Our facilitator, past state officer Derek Berkshire, saw our hesitation and said, “Sometimes when we speak, our speech topic is as much a lesson for us as it is for our audience.”
This is so true. Even if I’m not a master of being content in my own life, I can still encourage others to find contentment in theirs. Through my speech, I could find contentment for myself.
We all can be an “adviser.” We all can make a difference in someone’s life. Don’t be afraid to put in the effort to advise someone with the very advice you wish you had been given when you were in a similar situation. Every day we get the opportunity to give a kind word of encouragement.
Be a person who lifts others up and gives them a chance to grow. Encourage others and give them advice based on your own experiences. Maybe that piece of advice is exactly what you need to hear yourself. By building others up, we find that we too can grow from the experience.
Pearson is the 2017-18 Indiana FFA state treasurer.