A few weeks ago, I headed down south to the land of the pines for the 85th Georgia FFA State Convention. As a music lover, one of my favorite parts is always the convention concert on Friday night. I knew the band was undoubtedly talented, but there was a question I was waiting to be answered: Will they connect with the crowd?
The Farm answered that question quickly with a hand-clappin’, beach ball-bouncin’, beautifully harmonious yes! They played covers. No, not building a fort in the living room with all the sheets in the house, but they played familiar songs. The Farm could have played their entire new album to get exposure for songs few would know; they didn’t. Sure, they threw in a few of their original pieces, but they were amidst popular tunes like “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Ring of Fire.” They hit every style from Alabama to Michael Jackson. The night became less of a performance and more of a campfire sing along where everyone could be a part of the fun. The Farm knew that creating an enjoyable experience for their audience was more important than promoting their name, so they focused on the common ground.
Who will you connect with this summer? Find the common ground. It builds trust to explore and learn from the uncommon ground.
At camp…So what if she’s from the southern part of the state and you’re from the north? Maybe he grew up on a farm and you grew up in town. Focus on the experiences you can share over the next week. Does he play basketball? Start a game of 3-on-3 before supper. Is she already going to that leadership workshop? Tag along!
On the job…You didn’t choose them, but you’re punching the clock with them for at least a few months. Find a way to make it more fun for everyone. Is he competitive? Make a menial task a game. Does she love ice cream? Go celebrate with a scoop or two at the end of each week!
With the sibs…Even if you’re still finding his legos in your backpack or wake up to her rendition of the newest One Direction hit, you’re family. This is a special time we can pour into our brothers and sisters. Read a book together and talk about what you’re learning. Does he like to run? Hit the trail with him. Is she learning to play an instrument? Sit and listen to her latest piece.
As part of the team…The great part of teams is that we all bring something to the table. We all have different ideas of what our FFA chapters should do for the next year, but what do we have in common? Is everyone passionate about the agricultural awareness day you put together for elementary school students? Spend extra time take it to the next level. Looking for ways to increase attendance at FFA meetings? Focus on what FFA members enjoy. Consider adding fun recreation after business – maybe it’s a game of capture the flag or water games. Ask them!
In his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John C. Maxwell says, “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” The FFA Creed challenges us to “exert an influence in our home and community.” Let’s do it! Connect. Influence.
~Kalie Hall, National FFA