Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kassie Curran gives state vice president's retiring address

Kassie Curran, state FFA vice president, Girard FFA, delivered her retiring address, "Live Your Life," during the fourth session of the 83rd Kansas FFA Convention on June 2.

24—a number that can be connected to a TV drama series, my softball number when I was 8, the number of carats in pure gold, Kobe Bryant’s Lakers jersey number, or more commonly and most importantly as the number of hours in a day. Ultimately we all have just 24 hours to live our lives each day. Sleep, school, sports practice, practice for an upcoming CDE, work, cruise Main Street for a while, a little TV time, and a list of chores a mile long including dishes, laundry, feeding the animals, and doing homework—a day in the life. How do you spend your time? No matter how many times we say, “I wish I had more time” or “There just aren’t enough hours in a day” we are not going to get anything more than 24 hours. As mentioned in the song “If Today Was Your Last Day,” each day is a gift and not a given right. We have no guarantees of the time we have here on Earth. We cannot wait for tomorrow to begin living our lives, it will be too late! How do we maximize the 24 hours we have today? By living in appreciation, living outside the box, and living above the line we can truly live our lives.

Simply appreciating the time we have is key to living our lives. As we have established, time is precious and often we do not take the time to appreciate what is around us.

There was a girl I went to high school with that was so ready to move on with her life. She enjoyed high school, but thought there was so much more out in the world. She could not wait to have her own house, her own rules, not have someone telling her what to do, where to go, or when to go to bed. As soon as she got home from school each day she marked the day off her calendar and counted down the days until she was off to college. She had everything planned: where she would live, what she would major in, and her future career. She dreamed of having a huge house, a nice car, plenty of money and was determined that everything she needed to succeed in life was out in the world and she was going to get it. She could not understand why her parents always said, “Don’t wish your life away” and were so adamant about getting her to slow down and enjoy life. Even when they went to visit her grandparents, she was not happy and rolled her eyes as she scoffed in disgust. “Why do we have to go visit them? They smell funny and have stale cookies!” “How could she be so rude?”

The day finally came when she packed up her belongings and went off to college; hardly containing her excitement. Those first couple weeks were great! No one making her wake up at 6:30 in the morning or telling her to do dishes. The fact that she would not have her parents fix dinner for her each night, see her grandparents for weeks, or have her laundry always done nice and neatly never crossed her mind—until a few weeks into her first semester. Not only did she miss having meals made and laundry done for her, she realized the time she wasted, wishing high school would be over could never be lived again. There were so many things to be thankful for in her life but she never took the time to appreciate them. The people that took time to help her, and the places where she spent so much time were incredibly important in shaping who she was. That life-changing realization made me re-think the way I spend my time. I now take time to appreciate all the small things in my life, from walking through the halls of my high school to having dinner with my family. You guessed it…that girl was me.

Do not make the same mistake I did, celebrate your life. Take time to appreciate everything around you. Plant a garden with your family, or send a thank you note to your family, teachers, or friends. Take time to appreciate the opportunity to be in FFA by sharing with peers and getting them involved. This summer go camping, catch lightning bugs, stop by your advisor’s house just to chat. Instead of watching TV all-day go outside to enjoy what God has given us. When you find beautiful scenery capture it in a painting. When you see a baby calf running through the pasture, take pictures. No matter how busy we think our lives are, making time to enjoy the family members, special friends and mentors, pets, or special places we have allows us to truly live our lives in appreciation.

Identify one thing you are thankful for each day. We must appreciate what is around us on a daily basis because it will not always be there. Do not wait until tomorrow start appreciating your life now!

Maximizing our time includes more than appreciating our lives. Imagine the passions you could discover and the things you could learn if you chose to live outside of the box. I will admit I am a pretty reserved person, so getting out of a routine and comfortable schedule is sometimes a challenge. Even though it can be hard we all need to take risks and live outside of the box—which is why I have decided to dye my hair pink…Just kidding!

Living outside the box means taking risks and making decisions that challenge what others expect you to do.

“No! I do not want to move!” was my reaction when my parents asked how I felt about moving to Girard in 8th grade. The thought of changing schools made me furious! I was not willing to step outside my comfort zone and risk leaving my friends, my school, or our house for a new Ag teaching job my dad could have applied for. Three years later the opportunity to move to Girard was presented again when I was a junior in high school. The risks were still there: leaving behind all our friends, our house that we loved so much, and starting over. This time I saw the benefits: we would be close to family, be in better schools, and have more opportunities to succeed. We were all risking something, but my dad was taking the biggest risk of all. He risked giving up a good program he had built in his 14 years at Sedan and having his own kids build new lives. After weighing the benefits with all family members considered, he took a risk and applied, interviewed, and got the job. Even after securing the job, there was still risk involved. Taking time to live outside the box is difficult but it is always worth it. That one risk brought us closer to our family and into a great community.

Living outside the box can be about living on the edge, but more often it just means taking the time to venture outside of your comfort zone to try new things. Whether it is trying a new CDE and exploring your career path; or speaking in front of your classmates, take a risk each day. Living outside the box does not have to be as extreme as walking across a tight rope above jagged rocks or going swimming in the Amazon. It can be as small as volunteering to help with a service project in your community or walking backwards. Whether you go a week without TV, apply for a job, start your own SAE or go on a different road than you usually do on your way home, try something new each day! Try a class you never thought you were interested in, run for a district FFA office, taste a new food at your favorite restaurant, or be really adventurous and try a new restaurant. No matter how big or how small, risking to live outside the box will help you to fully live your life. Moms like to remind us not to “wish our life away.” Take this advice and do not miss out on an opportunity to live your life.

While Moms provide all kinds of advice, they also have things they are really picky about. Maybe the way the clothes are folded, or the way things are arranged in the fridge. I love my mom, but boy is she picky about her collection of antiques. My mom is so into this old stuff that they are all over our house and in our shop. One particular antique that she was quite fond of was an old lamp. This lamp had a solid layer of glass covering the light, weighed about 150 pounds, was two feet tall, and was irreplaceable. It was too big to have a place in the house, so it was conveniently located right next to the old piano in the shop. One day when my sisters and I were out doing chores, one of them decided to stand on the light to reach something on top of the piano. Two seconds after she stood up, the glass busted! You know that feeling when you are on a roller coaster and your stomach feels like it is in your throat? Ya. The expression on all of our faces turned from smiles and giggles, to panic! After a pow-pow we decided there was only thing we could do, not tell Mom. We even came up with a Plan B: if she did see it we would tell her that something must have fallen on the light.

I had been carrying a guilty conscience all day and when a loud scream was heard from the shop. Mom was mad. She tracked us down and I remember hearing “I hope you girls learned your lesson.” We sat through Mom’s lecture about telling the truth, but the lesson was clearly learned before the speech. Not telling the truth brought guilt and shame that increased by the second. Once the truth came out it brought a great feeling of relief and we knew it was also the right thing to do. The lesson was ingrained in us at an early age: telling the truth was living above the line.

Living above the line means doing what is right even when it is hard. It means owning up to your mistakes by taking responsibility when you mess up. It means not letting the pressure of others lure you away from your beliefs by standing up for what you believe in. Those who live above the line have good, strong character, values they live up to, and no guilt or regrets. As role models of this organization we must show integrity in our actions. If we want others to follow our example as leaders and to live at a high standard, we must live above the line.

Being able to do what is right no matter what is critical for living above the line. Be someone who makes the right decisions. Live your life above the line when you are out with your friends by deciding not to drink; by standing up for what you believe in; by doing your own schoolwork; by not standing by when someone is being bullied; live above the line with your family by treating them all with respect; by not cheating at CDEs; by doing the work for our SAE, by doing the work in our chapters. We have all been in a situation where had the opportunity to do the right or wrong thing. Make the choice to live above the line and have no regrets about doing what is right. What will you do when faced with a decision? Choose to live above the line!

Sleep, school, sports practice, practice for an upcoming CDE, work, and a list of chores a mile long including dishes, laundry, feeding the animals, and doing homework. Even with our demanding schedules, we can live our lives in appreciation by spending time being thankful of the special people and places in your life each day. To truly live our lives we must live outside the box by taking risks every day. No matter how busy we are, there is always time to live above the line.

24 hours, the amount of time we have to enjoy each day of our lives, to live each day to the fullest with no regrets. What will you do with the 24 hours you have? When you look back at your life, will you be happy with the life you lived? There are thousands of opportunities to live in appreciation, to live outside the box, and to live above the line. Do not miss out on opportunities to live your life! Ultimately we all have just 24 hours to live our lives each day. We cannot wait for tomorrow to begin living our lives, tomorrow is too late! Kansas FFA, take time to live your life today!

1 comment:

  1. Kassie, you are an amazing young woman and I wish I could have heard you give this speech! I enjoyed reading it and want you to know how it touched me--both as a former FFA member and a mom. I am proud of you and look forward to watching you continue to grow and excite others to do their best. Congratulations and good luck!