>Even 211 years after his death, the remembrance of his impeccable leadership qualities continues to resonate throughout history. His esteemed character, founded in trustworthiness, a diligent work ethic, common sense, and a genuine devotion to servant leadership, continues to captivate millions. America will never forget the man who stood firm against all odds to defend the cause of freedom, the founding father who had the remarkable ability to lead by example, a visionary who dreamed of sovereignty for a new nation.
On February 22, 1732, the man that would come to be known for his ability to put his potential to work to create positive change and leave a lasting impact was welcomed into this world. On this Tuesday, February 22, 2011, FFA members from Alaska to Puerto Rico and from Maine to Hawaii gather not only to celebrate National FFA Week but also to commemorate the life and legacy of the man pictured on the station marker of the treasurer. His name: George Washington. His quality: infinite potential.
Potential—we’ve all heard this word, but what does it really mean? And, how did George Washington utilize his potential as a leader? Potential is the ability to make something happen. Initiating a change, delivering an impact, accomplishing a goal—all of these things begin with potential. Possessing potential is having the capacity to act. As a visionary, soldier, farmer, and the first President of the United States, Washington demonstrated to us that confidently and passionately putting potential to use through action is not optional if we expect to attain greatness. In the absence of action, potential alone is valueless. In order to utilize our potential, we must take action.
Among my fondest memories of times spent by my father’s side are those in which we have shared deep, meaningful conversations corning life, happiness, and the value of hard work and conviction. Dad always says, “Son, you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to. As long as you believe in yourself and work hard, nothing is impossible.” My father’s simple words of wisdom have not once let me down. By his example, he has shown me that, through hard work, determination, and belief, we can each achieve things beyond our wildest imaginations.
Like Washington’s dream of one day establishing an independent nation, each of us has a dream. For some, maybe that dream is helping to feed the world by becoming a farmer, rancher, or other leader in the agriculture industry. Perhaps that dream is living to serve others as a parent, doctor, teacher, coach, or engineer. Or maybe, right now, that dream involves zipping a blue corduroy jacket to the top alongside over 523,000 other FFA members to help make a positive difference in our local communities or wearing a uniform as a soldier in a position of service to our great nation. Whatever those dreams look like for us, our potential to set goals, take action, and bring our dreams to life has no limits. FFA members, our potential is infinite.
Dream, act, achieve! Decide today where your infinite potential will take you!
Landan Schaffert is the 2010-2011 National FFA Secretary. He is a member of the Otis FFA Chapter in Colorado. He currently attends Colorado School of Mines where he majors in electrical engineering.