Commentary

September 7, 2012

Chaplain sends parting thoughts to a beloved community


It is no easy act to leave a post that you truly love. It is the people that make any duty memorable. Knowing I was leaving soon [Aug. 22], some have asked, “Chaplain, do you have any parting thoughts?”

As I pondered this question I thought: “What can I tell you that you do not already know from our interactions thus far?” So the best I can do is reinforce some lessons that I believe you already know. If you are a leader at any level in the United States Army or in the community, I am sure these lessons are buried somewhere in your psyche. Because that is so, I want to reinforce what you know with what I have learned in the crucible of life. Some lessons follow:

Success is not something you put in your hip pocket. Success is something that must be earned every day. It is one thing to take ground. It is another thing to hold the ground you seized. Tacticians know this. This is true in every field in life to include military life, corporate life, married life, parental life, political life and especially in our spiritual life. Success is like riding a bicycle — you either keep riding or you fall over. There is no standing still. Keep pedaling.

Be patient with your naysayers, critics and rockthrowers.  They are your gut check, your vetting process, your sanity check. While they may not agree with your vision and may be adamantly opposed to what you are trying to do, I have come to learn that if they are not radioactive in their critique, they can make a valuable contribution in the refining of — and in some cases the elimination of — unworkable ideas. My critics have made me a more mature and thoughtful leader, and that is what we want to be in the first place.

It takes a team to make a leader. Leaders are not developed by themselves. Mentors, role models, seniors, subordinates, institutional learning and hard work with reflection have roles to play in the formation of a -leader. The competing forces in our lives can make us bitter or better. The choice is ours.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. This statement did not originate with me, yet it challenges all who would heed its message to learn from mistakes, from failures, from shortcomings when we are tested beyond our limits. In crisis we practice learning to stand with others in the storms of life. Like lifting weights, every time we push through the resistance, we come out stronger. Together.

Never be in awed with yourself. People who believe their own press reports risk becoming victims of pride.  Self-proclaimed legends can be delusional, arrogant and incredibly hard to live or work with. We can be humble without sacrificing effective leadership.

Pain is inevitable; misery is optional. I got this line from author Erma Bombeck.

The chief point here is that life is mostly about attitude.  Pastor Chuck Swindoll had it exactly right when he said, “I am convinced that life is 10 percent of what happens to us and 90 percent of how we react to it.” Choose wisely.  Blaming, excuse making, scapegoating and finger pointing is bad business. Taking responsibility for our thoughts,  feelings and actions is fundamental in winning at this game called “life.” While there are some exceptions, much of who we become is the result of our choices. When we  accept responsibility for what we do and fail to do, we can continue to learn and grow.  It is easier to act our way into right feelings than to feel our way into right actions. Feelings are real, but they are not always a right guide for behavior. People who live out of feelings alone ride an emotional roller coaster. Living from one mood swing to the next is a messy way to live. Learning to manage that balance of emotions and reason is part of our maturation as leaders. Look at crisis and stress and relationships as opportunities to practice balance.

Live above the fray of belittling people. The old adage bears repeating, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small mind discuss people.”  While I cannot vouch for the originator of this quote I can argue for its truthfulness.  My final word of encouragement to all, pastorally speaking, is: “God can take our scars and turn them into stars.” While all scars may not be completely healed on earth, many of them can be, or at least the pain can be dramatically lessen. Despite the hard and perhaps uneven hand you have been dealt, you can be bigger than what has happened or is happening to you (Ephesians 3:20)

May God’s blessing, power and benediction rest upon you all! Always out front! Army Strong!




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Monsoon season arrives, brings needed moisture to desert

The monsoon is here! It’s that time of the year again when our region gets much needed rain. We all look forward to the moisture and some relief from the hot weather we’ve been experiencing recently. But what is the monsoon? Most people say it’s the time of year when we get ‘a lot’ of...
 
 
haynes3_62415_lakosil

Family, faith, focus Resiliency helps Soldier heal from extensive combat wounds

Maj. Jeremy Haynes, Warrior Transition Brigade, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Maryland, and wife Chelsea speak with Capt. Kate Degategno, Alpha Company, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, in Alvarado Hall, F...
 
 

National Safety Month – June 2015

During the past 10 years fatal Army accidents have declined significantly, both on and off duty. That trend has persisted through years of combat operations and continues now as we remain committed on multiple continents in support of National Defense objectives. Army leaders, Soldiers and Army Civilians have worked hard to make this possible. Thank...
 

 
Courtesy graphic

Employees have right of union representation

Courtesy graphic Bargaining unit employees who need to visit the American Federation of Government Employees Union, Local 1662, will now find the office in Nealis Barracks, Building 52204, on Cushing Street across from the Thun...
 
 

Presidential Proclamation LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2015 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION From the moment our Nation first came together to declare the fundamental truth that all men are created equal, courageous and dedicated patriots have fought to refine our founding promise and broaden democracy’s reach. Over the course of more than two centuries of striving and sacrifice, our country has expanded civil rights and...
 
 

Presidential Proclamation — National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2015 NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH, 2015 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION This year, approximately one in five American adults — our friends, colleagues, and loved ones — will experience a diagnosable mental health condition like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress, and many others will be troubled by significant emotional and psychological distress, especially in times of difficulty. For most of these...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>