March 1, 2011

When it Positively has to be There, but Maybe not Overnight

This might be my second favorite leadership principle: Know yourself and seek improvement.  (I don't necessarily plan on hitting all of the Marine Corps' eleven principles, but there are a few that stand out prominently in my mind.)  I think it pretty much speaks for itself.  One problem with the way it's interpreted by many Marines, however, is that it focuses on the negative.  It could be rewritten to say:  Know your faults and seek improvement.

This is still great advice, as it implies that we should seek our shortcomings so we may recognize and improve ourselves.  Nobody is perfect, and most things we do take practice to get good at.  Getting better at things we struggle at is certainly a good thing, and I'm sure I'll write plenty more to you girls about this in the future.

What's also important is for us to search ourselves and recognize our strengths.  We were all given certain gifts, and whether or not we like them, we should take advantage of them.  There are some abilities each of you girls will be better at than others.  Joy, you are great at organizing.  Little Bear, people are drawn to you.  You may find these talents stick with each of you, and you'll develop others.  Of course, you'll have to practice these things as well to get truly good at them, but that is the point: Find the things you're good at and harness them.  Work on them.  Strive to be better and improve yourself.  Improving upon things you excel at will build self-confidence, and that's a trait that's missing in us today.  It's a trait I want to help you develop.

In just the couple years of your short lives, I've been fascinated by the changes I've seen in you two.  I look forward to seeing what talents you develop as your characters and personalities form and mature.  As you grow, I hope I can help foster a learning attitude in you.  As you both realize your strengths and weaknesses, I hope you seek to improve.  As I get older too, along with finding gray hairs (I'm on 6 right now I think), I hope I'll find new qualities as well.  I just hope that we can all help each other foster our strengths and build self-confidence.  God willing, we can do it all together.


  1. Mark,
    Speaking as a father and grandfather I can tell you that there is nothing like the feeling of the love that you have inside for your children and your grandchildren.
    From what you write I can hear that love you have for your children. Although there is no recipe on how to be a father, I can tell you that you have the main ingredient, "LOVE".
    This can only come from God. He has blessed you with his love for you and you in turn have transferred that love to your children and it shows.
    As they grow they will see the ways of the world more clearly and will be able to determine right from wrong because of the example of the love you and your wife show them.
    Both you and your wife are doing a fantastic job with them. Keep it up! We need more parents like you both.
    May God continue His blessings for you all.

  2. Thanks Ed! I agree, the greatest commandment is to love. I can only imagine how the feeling magnifies for grandchildren. Something for my wife and I to look forward to! Enjoy yours.


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