It's National FFA Week, friends!
Have you been celebrating?
If you're friends with anyone agriculturally geared, you may have seen Facebook posts and pictures of kids (who are now adults) in their FFA jackets. You will read really great perspectives on how FFA has allowed opportunity, growth, challenges, and ways that have strengthened character.
And that is awesome.
That is FFA.
However, can I just give you another perspective? Can I allow you to peek into the window of the world of an FFA advisor's family? While this extra curricular is a part of many agriculture teacher's contract, there are many, many interpretations FFA programs can take. It's like anything, you can make it or you can fake it.
My husband, however, makes it.
And that is awesome.
The program is thriving. Joe inherited a historically good program, and with his continued guidance and ability to groom young individuals, they have carried on this tradition. The kids have "bought in" to Joe's philosophy of professionalism, and just yesterday, one of the bus monitors, who's son is in his class, stopped our oldest to tell her how Joe has been helping her son become a fine young gentleman.
There are many, many, many positives to FFA. I have sung its praises since I have realized that it wasn't just big trucks and camo and cattle (Sorry Dad...and Mr. Main...and all you FFA-ers).
There are also the parts of being an FFA advisor that the kids don't realize, heck, some parents don't either.
There are the 16 Saturdays that Joe missed last year from December to April because of contests. 16. While parents carted their kids to basketball and birthday parties, we spent our Thursday nights and into Friday arranging for car pools and grandparents to care for kids and get them to where they needed to be.
There are the late, late nights spent driving an activity bus to public speaking, parli pro, horse judging. Joe will have nights that he doesn't get home until after the kids are in bed, and leaves before the littlest Webels rise.
Because on top of these extra things that are grooming great adults, there's the classes he actually has to teach, papers to grade, lessons to plan.
Friends, FFA is great. This is not a post knocking its ability to consume an advisor's life, but there are sacrifices your advisor took/takes to make it a great experience. We are proud of Joe, and all of our friends who are teachers and advisors. Those programs, however, are not just built during school time. Those kids don't magically get to the ski trip, the hockey game, the summer camp without the help of an advisor, time spent figuring out rides and costs, or a family back home that had to plan everything around the next event. Families of FFA folks need to be commended. We are a family that has learned to adapt and plan as well as appreciate FFA.
This FFA family is breeding another generation of members. We think we may have some officer candidates, livestock judgers, etc. It because of the way of life FFA promotes, our kids have it in their DNA.
So while you're enjoying all the great throwbacks and memory posts, take a second to consider your teacher and your teacher's family and how their love for FFA and sacrifice for family time, Saturday mornings, late nights have allowed you to be who you are today.
Maybe buy them a cup of coffee or a Mountain Dew while you're at it...they might be tired from the night before's activities.