May 10, 2012

Leader’s Forum: “Thank a teacher – You’ll make their week”

Col. Robert C. Kuckuk
MCAS Commanding Officer

Teacher Appreciation week is this week, May 7th through the 11th. We all put a great deal of time into our mentoring program. We try mightily to get to know our Marines, Sailors and employees, teach them what we know and guide them on the right path. I challenge each of you to think back on your time from Kindergarten through high school and remember that teacher who taught you something that made you what you are today. Maybe it was a teacher, or a coach, or a guidance counselor that motivated you, challenged you, and encouraged you so in the end you got that A (or just barely passed!) or got you through to graduation.

I can remember mine like it was yesterday. Mr Richter was my math teacher in 10th grade in Madison East High School. After a spectacularly bad performance on a math test he called me aside and said “If you put half the time into school as you do in wrestling practice, you could be somebody”. Well, I did. I never failed another test (OK, almost never), got through school with a decent GPA and went to college. Now I have a Masters degree and the Corps allows me to run the air station. Maybe that’s not exactly what Mr Richter meant…but I’m pretty happy with it.

So I wrote him a letter about 5 years ago when I was lucky enough to be commanding VMA-311 and thanked him for what he said. Wrote a couple others too, but Mr Richter had the words that stuck. I Googled his address and sent him a note. That’s the challenge I have for you. Find that teacher and send them a note, or an email, or even give them a call. Tell them you joined the Marines or the Navy and are serving your country. Thank them for the time they took to help you succeed. You’ll make their week.

Then, call your Mom. It’s Mother’s day Sunday. If you’re married to a mother, do something nice for her, then call HER mother to thank her for having the daughter you are married to. Ronald Reagan was famous for sending flowers to his Mother-In-Law every year. If you don’t get along with your Mother-In-Law…this will help, promise. This week we recognize and thank those who do something we men can’t: be a mother.

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