FFA week has started and tweets, Facebook messages, blogs and articles are being shared on what FFA has meant to individuals across this country.
Tonight I am highlighting an important topic that usually gets the least amount of attention - RECORD KEEPING. The Agriculture Education program provides the only meaningful opportunity to teach record keeping to high school students.
Please feel free to post comments about how you learned record keeping by typing random numbers into spreadsheets on a computer in a business class. Although I will agree that basic knowledge can be learned through typing numbers out of a book into a system. However from personal teaching experience there is far more to be learned from entering their personal breeding ewes into an inventory only to find out that some of those ewes should have been entered into the beginning inventory and since they were not, none of the offspring showed up correctly. This student quickly learned a valuable lesson, if you have no offspring, you have no income.
I will agree, you can teach Net Worth successfully on a worksheet with John Q Farmers case study. However it will not come close to an experience I had this winter in the Ag. room as a senior entered four years of pay stubs, tax withholdings, and skills, only to realize he had "lost" several thousand dollars in the last four years. He did recover a few hundred after HE reviewed his data and realized some of those dollars were actually tax withholdings. This student was compiling records for a state degree where they needed to show a cash amount productively invested. This student was shocked he had earned so much money, yet had very little to show for it. I only smile. Although I can tell by the look on this 17 year old FFA members face he is disappointed, I know he has learned a valuable life lesson. This life lesson could have never been learned from a book. The other reason I smile is because according to our National Debt Clock, as a country we do not understand productively investing our money. I know I have moved one student and soon to be adult over the minority of investing your money productively.
The final story I share is a conversation with a senior who knew his mind. I appreciate a student who stands their ground (occasionally). This student shared that most of the money he had made through his successful work experience he had spent on a pair of jet skis. Again I smile as I tell this student that the FFA does not recognize this as productively invested. He says I realize that, but I really like riding them in the summer. I was happy he had saved enough money in the bank, which is considered productively invested to earn him the State FFA Degree.
I have shared countless personal stories on the importance of record keeping. I hope you enjoy these stories of what FFA-Record Keeping has helped Jake and I accomplish: