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Chaplain's Corner: Benefits of applied wisdom from childhood

By Air Force Chaplain (Maj.) James Hendrick | JBER Chaplain | April 7, 2016


The "Chaplain's Corner" offers perspectives to enhance spiritual/religious resiliency in support of Air Force and Army Comprehensive Fitness programs.

Comments regarding specific beliefs, practices, or behaviors are strictly those of the author and do not convey  endorsement by the U.S. government, the Department of Defense, the Army, the Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, or the 673d Air Base Wing.

Are you practicing the wisdom you've learned from childhood? Some reflection may prove very beneficial. Many say kindergarten taught them everything needed for life, as a popular book written a few years back suggests.

In a similar vein, a man named Brian Larson states he learned his best life-lessons at his early childhood Sunday school - specifically from the story of Noah's Ark and the Flood. What follows are his learned lessons with some added Department of Defense life application from a chaplain's perspective. 

Lesson number one; don't miss the boat. Situational awareness is very important. Much can be missed (relationally, vocationally, financially, etc.) if we're not alert or attentive. 

Second; we're all in the same boat. Our uniforms and government identification cards confirm this. May we therefore be kind and patient with one another. It makes the military journey so much better. 

Third; plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark, but when it started, Noah and his family were ready. There's a reason readiness is integral to military operations and family wellness. 

Fourth; stay fit. That is, stay comprehensively fit-mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. You never know when someone will ask you to do something monumental, like build an ark - even when you're 550 years old. 

Fifth; don't be preoccupied with critics. Criticism can be helpful as long as we're not immobilized by it. Noah certainly knew criticism during his building project, but it didn't immobilize him. Rather, he stayed focused on his
mission, as should we. 

Sixth; build your future on high ground - the moral and ethical high ground. Life is far less stressful and far more fulfilling when we do.

Seventh; for safety's sake, travel in pairs - two by two. Ensure you have a wingman, a battle buddy, a shipmate, or a designated driver. Isolation can be dangerous for our dependents and us. 

Eighth; when you're overly stressed, try floating a while. We can't direct every current in our lives. Much stress can be reduced by floating with currents we can't control, unless they are unethical, immoral, or illegal. These we must resist with integrity.

Ninth; remember the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic by professionals.  Brilliance can be found everywhere if we're humble enough to look for it. 

Tenth; no matter the storm, when we go with God, or as our currency states, "In God We Trust," there's always some type of 'developmental rainbow' waiting at the end of our trial.

Life in today's DoD requires applied wisdom. Are we practicing the wisdom we learned from childhood - for our benefit and that of others? Some reflection may prove very beneficial.