This is from the second essay winner, Montana Lehman. This is another great essay from another great kid! When growing up in a small town things like FFA and 4-H are important. Both have played a major role in my life. They have taught me many important lessons in life that some don’t ever learn.
These organizations have taught me responsibility. I get out of bed at all hours of the morning to feed and walk my pigs every day. Most kids depend on their parents to wake them at 13 years old, not me! I set my own alarm and do it all myself. Most kids spend their weekends in bed and lounging around or hanging out with their friends, not me. My animals depend on me, without me taking care of them they would not survive. I am responsible for my actions and if I don’t do these things no one will. Learning responsibility will take me far in my life and help me achieve all my dreams.
I am not going to lie, I was not good at dedication and determination until I started with these organizations. Now that I am involved with FFA, 4-H and showing pigs, I have learned the importance of hard work, dedication and determination. Your animal and your club both deserve your 100%. There will be other things you might want to do but your club meetings and events will always win out. You will always give your all regardless if it is the best pig in the barn or the most stubborn and worst pig you have ever had. A great pig with awesome potential can be ruined without the proper effort in caring for it. The worst pig can become your very best prize winner with hard work and determination. When it comes to your club if you are not fully participating you are not truly an active member. If you are privileged enough to hold an office within your club you must step up and be a role model, in order to do that you must be present and attentive. The dedication and determination that I have learned in participating in these activities will assist me in becoming the person that I want to be.
It takes a huge amount of respect to be in both of these organizations. Respect for yourself, respect for animals, and respect for others. You can’t walk into an arena and not have respect for the other showmen and women and their animals. You know that those that are in the arena with you have worked hard to get there and deserve to be there just as much as you. You must show respect for yourself and your project and both of you must look your very best on show day. You can’t walk into the arena on show day with a dirty animal and wearing shorts and a t-shirt and expect to win. That shows you don’t respect yourself or the animal you are showing. You must show respect to all of your club or chapter members and advisors no matter their rank or involvement. Without respect for one another there is nothing.
Some people only dream of success, in these organizations we are taught to work hard to achieve it. If you don’t work hard on whatever you are doing you are wasting your time as well as others. For instance, your animal is not going to do what it is supposed to do if you don’t work hard with it. A stock show animal is just like a dog, you must train them to “sit”, just like you must train your animal to do what it is supposed to do in the ring. When you get a new animal you must show it that you can be trusted, in order to do this you must work slowly and earn their trust. If your animal does not trust you it will never do what you need it to. You must be persistent in order to get things accomplished whether it is with working with your animals or working for your clubs and chapters. I hold the office of secretary within my 4 -H club and without me working hard and paying attention to the things that are said and done in our meetings the correct records would not be kept, members who may have missed a meeting would not know what was discussed and might miss something important. These organizations teach us that working hard always pays off and someone or something will always be depending on you to be an achiever not a dreamer.
Friends are family that you choose! Through FFA and 4-H your circle of friends and family become very wide. You get to meet people from everywhere that you wouldn’t ordinarily get to meet. The stock show community is a very tight one. You will not find a better hearted community anywhere! It doesn’t matter where you are from or even if you are competing against one another everyone is always there to help others when and if they need it. Stock shows also give you a chance to bond more with your blood family, the road trips, the late nights in the barn, and the long lines to get your stock into the show barn are memories that will last a lifetime. FFA and 4-H teach you the meaning of family.
FFA and 4-H teach us that people and animals are what matters, not electronics! Sitting around on your phones, game consoles and computers teach us nothing about what life has in store. The lessons we are taught through these programs are lessons we will actually use in life. They teach us to communicate verbally and respectfully, electronics do not! They teach us how to speak in public. Glossiphobia is the fear of public speaking, lots of people have that fear. 4-H and FFA help us to overcome this fear. It teaches us to talk in front of our peers and to stand up for what we believe in. It helps us to take what we are passionate about and put it into words. Public speaking is something everyone should know how to do and have the confidence to do so accurately, thankfully I have learned this first hand.
Winning is not everything! FFA and 4-H teach us that no matter how hard we try sometimes we just can’t win, but we smile through the loss and use it as a learning experience. We learn that things don’t always go our way. A positive attitude and willingness to learn will get you far in life. FFA and 4-H have taught me that no matter what life throws at me between now and the time I graduate as a Veterinarian that I can and will succeed through trying my best and giving it my all. I am only 13 years old and in the eighth grade, I still have many years of hard work ahead of me in order to succeed in my goals in life but I know that with the things that I have learned and have yet to learn in both the FFA and 4-H programs will help in doing just that!