In my high school English class, I was taught to never use the word “good” when writing a paper. During long hours of basketball practice, my teammates and I decided to never settle for “good enough.” When I competed in the instrumental solo/ensemble contest, I knew that receiving a score of “good” meant I had a long way to go before I could earn the coveted score of Superior. It was quite simple. Being good meant I could still become greater. But what happens when instead of striving to BE good, we strive to DO good?
When it comes to being “good,” each of us strive to be not just good, but great, at different things. Great at sports, great at school, great at singing, great at public speaking, and so much more. It’s not wrong to desire to be good at these things, but we spend time focusing on ourselves. When we strive to DO good, we are focusing on others.
When my teammates and I traveled to AgStar this past fall for a State Officer Professional Development Day, we met several leaders of the company and learned about the AgStar’s partnership with FFA. One individual who sticks out in my mind even today is Tim McNamara. Tim served as 1974-1975 Minnesota FFA Secretary and is now the Associate Vice President of Capital Markets at AgStar Financial Services. He and his colleague, Rod Hebrink, 1975-1976 Minnesota FFA President and current CEO and President of AgStar, shared with us many memories from their time as FFA members and gave advice on how we can continue to grow and become leaders of the agriculture industry. At the end of the day, Tim said “Go forth, do good.” At the time, I thought, “Wow, what fitting advice for my year of service as a state officer.” But now, I think “Wow! What fitting advice for life.”
Why would we choose to do good? What difference is it going to make? The answer: all the difference in the world.
If Nelson Mandela had not chosen to “do good,” the anti-apartheid movement may not have been resolved and segregation would still exist. If Susan B. Anthony had not chosen to “do good,” women may not have been able to vote until significantly later in history. If Norman Borlaug had not chosen to “do good,” billions of people would have died of starvation.
When we choose to do good, the world will not be changed overnight. However, small acts begin to add up, and before we realize, someone’s life will be impacted. When we act as a positive influence in someone’s life, we are fulfilling the last line of the FFA Motto, “Living to Serve.” Alone, you and I can do so little. But together, we can do so much. We can choose to be All In and be the difference-makers of our generation. One act of kindness at a time and soon, the world will be filled with the love we have given. Let’s commit to choosing to DO GOOD.
It has been the greatest honor to serve Minnesota FFA this year. When I take my jacket off for the final time, I will not forget the lessons I have learned and the people I have loved, but rather, will continue to be right alongside each of you, loving and serving others.
Go forth, do good.
For the final time,
Stationed by the ear of corn,