The FFA Creed and the Truth About Real Life
As an FFA member, I had the leader and achiever mentality. I was always participating in something new, winning some new award, adding new things to my Agricultural Communications Supervised Agriculture Experience Program, and working toward goals I never thought I’d achieve.
Throughout my four amazing years of high school FFA, I found a passion for what I do now: Agricultural Communications. Those record books led me to pursue a degree in that field, and seek out internships that allowed me to advocate for what I love most: agriculture.
Along the way, I have learned some very hard lessons. Some not very painful, easier to swallow, and less brutal to move on from. Others, life shattering, requiring some course correction and some serious self-assessment.
When I was a freshman, I remember looking at my Ag Teacher and telling her she was crazy when she expected us to memorize and recite (in front of the whole class none the less!) the entire five paragraphs of E.M. Tiffany’s FFA Creed. What I didn’t know at the time was that those famous words would resonate with the highs and lows of what I was about to experience, not only in the FFA and high school, but as I transition into college and into the real world of work, careers, family, friends and life.
For each line of the creed, I find myself either reminiscing about a great experience, or shuddering about a difficult one. For almost every line, I can think of something that happened to me, and stand amazed that somehow E.M. Tiffany can relate to even though the creed was written in 1933. That’s almost 85 years ago!
“Better days through better ways”
...encourages me to persevere when it seems like I am not making progress in work in life. Each day is better because of the work and preparation we completed the day before. It brings hope for the future because with each day, the progress we make snowballs. In the same vein, “the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years” gives me hope when things get hard and you want to give up.
“I believe that to work on a good farm, or be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agriculture life”
...reminds me that having a life in the agriculture industry is rarely easy. It’s enjoyable when you win a contest or have a successful banquet, but without the hard work you put into it behind the scenes you wouldn’t get that “rush” when hearing your name announced after winning a contest or receiving recognition for all your hard work. Agricultural life is difficult, but if you stick it out, your hard work will be rewarded.
“I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.”
...makes me think about all those volunteer hours you spent collecting canned goods for the local food pantry, serving food at the local agribusiness’s open house, or scooping poop at your little town’s fall festival petting zoo. Individually, those small tasks don’t seem glamorous or fun. However, when you add them all together and let them snowball over time, you will reap the reward of not only a wonderful town to live in, but a more wonderful world to live in, and a better industry to serve.
The creed applied to life in 1933, but it also applies to life even more so now. Agriculture life is difficult and you will face challenges, but on the other side of that is an amazing industry to serve, live in, and watch grow.
Photo: Indiana FFA Association