With the conclusion of 2014, I can say without regrets that it was my greatest year yet. The conclusion of high school brought sorrow, but opened the door to opportunity. Just beyond high school graduation, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve the Kansas FFA Association. Then, attending Kansas State University was a new path for me. New schedules, new priorities, and new relationships developed. Among all of that, the biggest burden that I faced was the realization and independence of purchasing Christmas gifts for friends and family. Christmas is expensive. There is no way around it. This year my wallet took the biggest hit it has ever taken during the Christmas Season. Though, this increase in spending is because I have more people in my life that care about me. I believed that the way to express my gratitude was show it by the dollars I spent. However, the most valuable gift I received this holiday season cost no money at all.
Every year, all 31 members of the Hadachek family participate in a secret Santa gift exchange. Before each individual opens their gift, their “Santa” is required to say something about the recipient of the gift. Most of the comments made are jokes or funny memories, so I expected the same when it came my turn. I had suggested that my Santa get me a heavy duty water bottle for my trip to South Africa and many long walks on campus. Granted, I received the water bottle that I asked for, but as you can guess, the water bottle isn't what this story is about. My uncle, a former State FFA Officer, had drawn my name. Before opening my gift, he told me how proud he was of what I have accomplished, and it has been exciting watching me grow.
We underestimate the power we have with words, positive or negative. With every new relationship I have formed, the conversations are what have strengthened the bond. Through every interaction I have had with Kansas FFA members, it is the stories that make each of them unique. There is a reason that leadership conferences hire professional speakers. Those stories inspire us to exceed our own expectations. Finally, words give purpose to the work that we do.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” This principal holds true in every situation. There are so many misinterpretations within the world today. Each one of those misinterpretations start with a small error of words. We must be cautious with comments towards others. Several sarcastic, rude, or unwary words can ruin a person’s day and discourage them. Likewise, our words, when used properly, can be a needed apology, and expression of gratitude, or a light in someone’s dark world.
For your New Year’s resolution, I leave you with a challenge. When you interact with friends, ensure that your conversation is constructive. Gain courage to mend relationships that may be broken. Before posting on social media, ponder over the meaning of the post in your drafts for an hour, read it to your mother, and if the message is still necessary and purposeful, post it. Tell your parents or guardians that you love them. Ask your grandparents about their life. Read a book. We have so much to learn from others, and words are the key to unlocking that potential.