Commentary

November 9, 2012

Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer

It finally dipped below 90 degrees recently and many of us know what that means — fall is upon us in the Valley, and the holidays and even cooler temperatures are just around the corner. The next few months will bring parties, family visits, vacations, food, and bowl games.

But not everyone has a full social calendar. Airmen straight from technical school and overseas returnees, for example, may not receive multiple invitations for holiday functions.

Years ago, I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with a few friends at a fast food restaurant. The hamburgers didn’t taste quite like turkey, the potatoes were of the French fried variety and the ambience was nonexistent. Later that evening I spoke with my parents. My family was expectedly horrified, and the situation was mildly depressing, but misery at least had company that night.

But what about the Airman who doesn’t know anyone well enough to make a pizza run with on an extended holiday weekend or missed the invite for Thanksgiving dinner at the chief’s house? The Airman’s creed says, “I will never leave an Airman behind.” The holidays present a perfect opportunity for us to apply this vitally important concept.

Mass email and good intentions cannot accomplish this mission. Words alone will not keep our Airmen from enjoying the holidays with a drive-thru burrito perched alone in front of their Xbox. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, success hinges on meaningful communication and first-line supervisor engagement.

First-line supervisors are leaders in the perfect position to ensure we leave no Airman behind. Now is the time to get into the specifics of the weekend and holiday plans; the gritty details of the “who, what, where, why, how and when.” A vague answer to any of the preceding questions should drive a more in-depth conversation. Follow through on the back-end as well. Anybody can ask “how was your weekend?” But a skilled first-line supervisor inquires on the specifics. Consider opening your home for dinner or to watch a game. Invite early and often, and don’t readily accept “no thank you” for answer. If you are a first-line supervisor and are leaving town or otherwise unavailable, ensure you hand your responsibilities off to someone you trust. Safety briefs take on an even greater importance as well. Showing somebody how to check tire pressure on a car is arguably more effective than just advising them to do so. This extra five minutes demonstrates caring and commitment, and is time well spent.

The next few weeks can be stressful as well. Amidst the festivities and excitement, be cognizant of subtle changes in the behavior or habits of fellow Airmen. We lean heavily upon first-line supervisors to recognize and help manage these stressors, but often it is one’s own peer group that is best able to identify and provide appropriate support.

For Airmen not going home for the holidays, the 56th Force Support Squadron offers many opportunities for great camaraderie, food and fun this time of year. Ultimately, no one will force you to participate in squadron or wing functions. Take some personal initiative, take some risks, and meet some new people. Take your supervisor up on an offer to spend a few hours over at his house. Get involved, and have fun.




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


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo

Chief of staff visits Luke

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and his wife, Betty, spent time meeting with Airmen and leadership Monday at Luke Air Force Base. Welsh highlighted Airman health, wellness and quality of life activities. He also...
 
 

Mentoring fosters dreams, strengthens us

A few days ago while reading an online commander’s call, I came across an article dated Dec. 31, 2014, stating President Obama proclaimed the month of January 2015 National Mentoring Month. Although this topic is thoroughly discussed in our Air Force today, I felt compelled to write on its importance all the same. In a...
 
 

Have you joined the Air Force yet?

I enlisted into the Air Force in February of 1997. However, I didn’t join the Air Force until March of 1999. No, I’m not talking about the Delayed Enlistment Program. There was no doubt that after high school I would attend college. However, not having applied for any scholarships and realizing that I didn’t have...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Prevention training goes face-to-face

Courtesy photo Maj. Jennifer Tomlinson, Air Education and Training Command Medical Readiness Division deputy chief, serves as facilitator during the AETC Medical Services and Training directorate annual Air Force Suicide Preven...
 
 
Senior Airman
JAMES HENSLEY

Thunderbolt looks to future

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Maddie Baker, 56th Dental Squadron acting commander secretary was an Air Force Honor Guard member prior to crossing over to the dental field. As the commander’s secretary, she plays a piv...
 
 

Tuskegee Airmen commemorated

The Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airman Inc. celebrated the 2nd Annual Tuskegee Airman Commemoration Day with a wreath ceremony Wednesday at the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park. The Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day is the result of legislation signed into law by former Arizona Governor Janice Brewer in 2013 and is the first such law...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin