June 25, 2011

My Career Mantra

Girls, I hate to tell you, but no matter what you do or who you are, things aren't always going to go your way.  They're not always going to be perfect, good, or even preferred.  In some cases, it will just be a little discomfort you have to deal with.  In others, it's going to be straight pain.  These experiences can make us stronger, but they can also make us weaker, if we're not careful.  It's not the adversity that strengthens us, it's how we handle it.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, whether or not you have good experiences or bad, do your best.  Add value to every situation you face.  Whether it's leaving a rental house cleaner than you found it, helping your mom clean up a mess you didn't make, or excelling in a job you didn't pick, take positive measures to improve your situation. People will appreciate it and you'll find yourself sleeping better.

No matter what, grow where you're planted.

June 17, 2011

On the Road with Krieger and Addy

This is no revelation, but there is nothing like a a cross-country journey to cleanse your palate and jump start your imagination.  Steinbeck and Kerouac realized this, if not before their travels, then after.  Maybe it's not quite as grand a trip as it used to be with the prevalence of fast food scattered along the Interstate highway system.  Along these routes, it's much safer than it used to be while the fame and novelty of Route 66 and the like are more difficult to find.  Hopefully one day I'll be able to make the trip again, avoiding any road with limited access and experiencing the land somewhat slower than at 80 mph.  Even so, it's an experience.  So I pray that some day we will be able to make such a trip when you two are old enough to realize what's happening.  

In time and with pressure, the earth's geology can shift and mold itself into new forms.  With time but very little pressure, so can a man's thoughts.  Funny sights, dramatic formations, city skylines, or ever-lasting landscapes affect your senses.  Their impressions run free in your head, tripping, colliding, reforming themselves into something you've never thought possible.  You'll find inspiration, humor, sadness, anger, and maybe an opportunity to flex your golden pipes to a new favorite song.  The best part: nothing to do but drive; nothing but time to collate and make sense of your thoughts.  You can let your mind run free, something that's as important, at times, as focusing on life.

June 4, 2011

I'm dangerous, and foolish.

Parenting is like flying a jet.  Every flight, for every pilot, everywhere, includes at least a couple of screw ups.  As you get more hours, more missions, more experience, the mistakes become smaller and usually less catastrophic.  At least on average.  But they always exist.  This may not instill a whole lot of confidence for the next time you girls fly to see your grandparents, but it's true.  As a pilot, you always strive for that fleetingly perfect flight.  All you can do is admit your mistakes, figure out what went wrong, how you can fix it, and go fly again. 

At least the Marine Corps gives you 2 years of training before you get in a real jet.

June 1, 2011

Stuff your face

We had a speaker recently who talked about a smattering of topics, all centered around leadership. In his talk he discussed success and significance.  He stressed the importance, as a leader, of being significant rather than successful.  As he spoke, this sounded good.  In a room filled with Marines, he defined success as gaining rank, power, or influence.  Compared to this, having a positive influence on people's lives and making a difference in this world clearly is superior.

Then I thought about my two girls and what makes you so amazing.  I owe most of that to your mother.  She's been such a positive influence on your lives, and mine as well.  She would certainly fit the speaker's definition of significance.  But she wouldn't fit his definition of success.  According to him, that's a good thing.  In context, I get what he was trying to say.  But I thought: What about a woman who's got it all together, raised two "practice kids" (German Shepherds), been through 11 years in the Marine Corps, and has managed to bring up two smart, beautiful, and precious girls?  Isn't she successful?  Can't you be successful and significant?  If you're significant, wouldn't that make you successful?

The drive for money and power would say no; a positive impact is unnecessary, maybe just icing on the cake.  Girls, according to God, significance is the cake.