What’s more fun than spending five hours in a suburban playing road trips games, holding our bladders, and ignoring our rumbling stomachs? Well when it’s phrased that way… just about anything. However, when I arrived in Iowa, all these small things fade into the background. Recently, my fellow team members and I had the opportunity to attend National Leadership Conference for State Officers. Besides the knowledge gained at this conference, the people and relationships we built surpassed everything.
DeShawn Blanding, the 2016-2017 National Southern Region Vice President, was one of the facilitators at this conference. Talk, about inspiring! He brought the life, energy, and excitement each and every day. I soon found myself invigorated by his words and actions.
One evening he sat us down for our reflections. As normal, I grabbed my moleskin, pen, and let my mind wander through his words and stories. Then, something he said caught my attention. DeShawn was telling us a story about a time when his family could only afford one FFA jacket. Since his brother was older than him, his name went on the jacket. Once his brother graduated, Deshawn was handed down the coveted blue jacket. However, DeShawn felt like he was living in the shadow of his brother. It was his brother’s name on the jacket after all. It wasn’t until DeShawn received his own jacket with his name on it that he realized, it’s about who’s in the jacket…not the name on the jacket.
I remember when I received my first chapter FFA jacket. I wore that jacket during some of my proudest moments…and some of my toughest. While I was so proud of my name on the front, and my chapter or district on the back, I never thought to think…. it’s who’s inside this jacket that I am proud of. Our name’s on our jacket’s will only mean as much as the person inside of them. Maybe we are wearing our older brother’s or sister’s jacket. Maybe we are borrowing a jacket from our FFA Chapter. Or Maybe we have a jacket with our own name on it. It will always be the person inside the jacket that defines us, not the name on the front.
Living to Serve,