Host Aaron Alejandro and Taya Kyle discuss Chris Kyle’s Legacy and the lasting impact of FFA.
The National FFA Organization works to strengthen science and agricultural educational opportunities for students across the country. The Texas FFA Association and Texas FFA Foundation are the largest state organizations in the country.
On this episode of Growing Our Future Podcast, Aaron Alejandro introduces Taya Kyle, author of American Wife: A Memoir of Love, Service, Faith and Renewal and Founder of the Taya and Chris Kyle Foundation, an organization that gives military, law enforcement, and first-responder couples tools to help their relationships thrive. Taya’s experience as a military spouse, writer, and entrepreneur gives her a unique perspective on gratitude, healing, and humility, especially when it comes to leadership.
A Remarkable Life, Shaped by FFA
When Taya Kyle’s husband was killed in 2013, she was in “extraordinary pain,” she says. But Kyle credits her children and her faith, along with Chris Kyle’s memory, with helping her heal. She remembers Chris, a Navy SEAL and author of the acclaimed memoir American Sniper, as having “a great, gentle spirit”, especially when it came to animals. Chris, who participated in FFA as a young man and carried its core values forth into every area of his life, was an especially skilled and intuitive horseman.
Kyle remembers Chris’ plan to buy their “dream ranch” when the publicity from American Sniper and its eponymous film adaptation died down–a place where they could return to a simpler time without email or cell phones. “Love for agriculture and stewardship was in his DNA,” says Alejandro.
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“FFA kids have everything to be grateful for and look forward to,” Kyle says.
“They’ve already done work, they know how to work within a team, they understand what leadership is, they understand what humility is, and there is a lot to be learned from agriculture and animals.” Kyle believes that a sense of humility can exist alongside confidence and strength, and these three qualities together are essential for effective leadership.
In turn, humility allows leaders to continue to grow, which Alejandro and Kyle agree is necessary in a complex and changing world. It’s easier than ever, Kyle says, to “get a little bit entitled, a little bit lazy.”
“Sharpen Your Ax”
While Kyle encourages young people to take initiative, she admits that she can tend to be in a hurry to reach her goals. As FFA students prepare for graduation, they can be honing their “competitive edges” in order to prepare for next steps. Alejandro believes that what kids experience in high school significantly impacts the future of the country, and he also acknowledges that leadership is not easy.
“FFA kids are miles ahead,” Kyle says.
The Texas FFA Foundation’s purpose is to strengthen agricultural education and the Texas FFA program, so each student can develop their potential for personal growth, career success and leadership in a global marketplace..
Learn more about the Texas FFA Foundation at mytexassffa.org.
Learn more about the Taya and Chris Kyle Foundation at: https://tackf.org/