When You Hang Your Jacket Up


It was a great run. You competed in countless competitions, made friends that were more like family, and are ready to take the things you learned in that jacket with you to your next chapter. It’s crazy that so many years have passed so quickly, and those years feel like they just happened a few days ago. The reality of hanging up your jacket, is now something you must face. You’ll remember the time you ordered your jacket and the time it finally came in. As you zipped it up you felt proud that you would be carrying on a tradition that so many others before you had loved. Maybe you started a tradition for your younger siblings that watched you and dreamed of the day they could own a jacket like that. You might have ordered it a bit big so you could grow into it, but you’ll think to yourself how nothing has ever fit quite as perfectly as that jacket.

Those years they went by fast and you made some of the best friends a person could ask for. You spent countless hours traveling mile after mile with a team that turned into friends, which later felt more like a family. You laughed together at your inside jokes, and cried together through some difficult times. It seemed those difficult times brought you all closer together, and made you stronger.

You’ll begin thinking about how your parents and agriculture educator drove you around the world chasing your dreams. They helped you prepare for the speech contest, and pushed you to be the best you could be. You probably never realized just how much work, time, and effort they put into fulfilling your dreams and building your character.

So you take that jacket off, put it on the hanger and just look at it for a minute. The pockets are full of knickknacks, and your heart is fuller because of that jacket. You told yourself you weren’t going to cry, but you find yourself sitting down crying because you are about to begin a new chapter in your life. You won’t be wearing that jacket anymore, and it’s now turned into a memory itself.

Your jacket is hung up in your closet. Lucky for you the memories made will last forever, and there will be the next generation of FFA, and 4-H members that will receive a jacket. Those kids will keep the tradition alive, and you can always volunteer to help them out.

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