I have always hated making decisions. Really big life changing decisions frightened me for the longest time, and making the little day to day decisions, like what I`m going to eat for lunch, are tedious and annoying to me. Being indecisive is something I've lived with my whole life. So, naturally, I looked to those around me to help make these decisions. For the big decisions in my life, one of those special people is my father. He was actually the person who taught me the most about my choices and how important they are. My father has a unique outlook on life. He believes that in every situation in life we have a choice on how to approach and handle it. I remember the day my father taught this exact lesson to my brothers and I.
It was a Saturday, and just like every Saturday, my brothers and I were enjoying a nice day at home. Just like every Saturday, my brother Tobias and I, being very similar people, were butting heads on who would be using the only computer in the house next. Like normal my oldest brother Sam tried to break up the impending argument that was about to break out and got drug into the argument himself. So naturally, we went to the only parental advisor in the house, my father. It just so happened, that on this particular Saturday, my mother had taken the day off to hang out with her friends; fully knowing this, I was ready to put on the best “daddy`s little girls” act to get what I wanted. As we all ran up to my dad speaking at once, he told us to stop. He looked at the three of us and asked us a very confusing question. “If I were to spit on you, would you be mad?” My brothers and I exchanged confusing looks. I`m thinking, “Dad, you’re the one who taught me spitting on people is socially unacceptable. Of course I would be mad!”
My brothers and I came to the conclusion and told our dad, “Yes, if you spit on us, we would be mad at you.” Our father looked at us and said, “No, you would be wet. Only you decide whether you get mad or not.” At the time I did not fully understand this lesson; however, I was recently reminded how much our decisions affect our lives and thought back to what my dad had taught my siblings and me. He was right; we have a decision in everything in our lives, and they have a big impact on where we end up. This was made clear to me just the other week.
After the six of us were elected to office, we were beyond excited to be serving the members of Minnesota FFA. We knew that the year was going to be jam packed full of adventures and opportunities we had never been given before. On of these opportunities was going to be traveling to South Africa for two weeks. I was very excited for the opportunity and wanted to go back to the country that had stolen a part of my heart two years earlier. I longed to go back, but this trip would be a big chunk of money (on top of the even bigger chunk of money I was paying for college), and the trip was going to be the first two weeks in January (which happened to be the first two weeks of spring semester). This was going to be a hard decision. So, I turned to my dad for guidance. After a long talk, he made it clear that in the end this was my decision not his, but he did leave me with this advice, “Spencer, I know that there will be many opportunities for you throughout this year. Maybe this one is just not for you. There is a time and a place for everything, so what is your time? Maybe there is something bigger right around the corner.”
In the end, I decided not to go on the trip to South Africa with my teammates. But little did I know that my father was right; there was an amazing opportunity right around the corner. A few weeks after my teammates had been accepted as one of the 75 state officers traveling to South Africa, I learned of an opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for National Ag Day. This was an opportunity I was not going to let pass me by. My teammate Eleora and I applied, and were both very excited when we got accepted. We booked ourflights and waited for March 20th to come. The chaos of my life took my mind away from my trip, and it slipped to the back of my mind. The Monday before we were to leave I got an email from the National Ag Day coordinator; it read: “we're excited to see you in D.C. in a week!’ and included a few tasks we had to complete before arriving. I got excited and started a packing list. Knowing I would have the time to speak with some Congressmen and women, I caught up on Minnesota agriculture so I could have good conversations when in D.C. Later that week on Thursday, I received another email from Jordan who works for National FFA; this email got me very excited to travel to D.C. It was inviting me to attend the National Ag Day Celebration and Proclamation Signing at the United States Department of Agriculture on Tuesday with the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and special guest speaker Vice President Mike Pence. I was going to see our Vice President speak, I was so excited for the opportunity! I went home that night and celebrated with my family.
The next morning, I was standing in the kitchen talking with my dad before I had to leave to go to a conference. I was just about to leave when my phone buzzed, and I decided to check it before I left (and boy, am I glad I did!!!). It was an email from a staff member from National FFA, It went something like this…
I hope this email finds you well, and you are excited to join us in Washington D.C. for National Ag Day. I was just wondering if you would like to introduce the Secretary of Agriculture at the celebration on Tuesday?”
Needless to say, my jaw hit the floor! Standing in my kitchen, I quickly replied to the email saying I would LOVE the opportunity! Then my dad looked at me and said, “Spencer, remember when you didn't take the opportunity to travel to South Africa, and I said it was because it wasn't your time. Well, now is your time.”
BEYOND excited, I jumped on the plane to head to D.C. for the opportunity of a lifetime. On Tuesday I introduced the Secretary of Agriculture, met the Vice President, and received a special shout out in his speech. I was on cloud nine for days!! I got this incredible opportunity because I waited for my time.
As FFA members we are given countless opportunities in and out of the blue jacket. I know many FFA members who take all of them (don't worry, I was the same way). Even though we have many opportunities available to us, often times we do not get every single one. Whether it be serving in a specific office we were going for, or competing at a higher level in a CED or LDE, getting the lead role in a play or musical, getting a scholarship to school or a camp/conference, or getting that perfect dream job, it is not because we are not good enough for it, it is simply not our time. What is the next thing right around the corner we can't see yet? How do we handle ourselves when we don't achieve a goal? Are we bitter and full of resentment, or do we move forward to the next opportunity knowing it is not our time? When is your time?
Check out the clip of me introducing the Secretary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJVX-Pdwx1c&feature=youtu.be
For the final time, Stationed by the Emblem of Washington,