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Chaplain's Corner: Remember the lessons of kindergarten; they’re relevant

By Army Chaplain (Capt.) Angie Erickson | JBER Army Reserve Chaplain | June 26, 2014


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.

There is a poster on my office wall that reads, "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten."

I often refer to author Robert Fulghum's advice, because he covers some pretty useful need-to-know stuff on "love and basic sanitation, ecology and politics and equality and sane living."

However, as I listen to people's struggles, I have come to realize that somewhere along the way, as adults, we have forgotten some of this pretty basic stuff.

One of those basics, following the golden rule (do to others what you would have them do to you), is also quoted on Fulghum's poster and found in the Bible - which is a book also found in my office.

Both speak about successful living and offer a wealth of helpful living tips.

However, what my Bible gives me is spiritual resiliency, and it goes beyond common-sense notions like "don't hit people" and "watch out for traffic."

The Bible feeds my soul.

Why does the Gospel of John speak about bread and water?

Because as human beings, we die without food and water.

The Bible makes several promises in the book of John.

That gospel says Jesus is the bread of life who provides sustenance for the soul, (John 6:34-36); Jesus is the bread of life who gives eternal life (John 6:37-40); and Jesus supplies living water which quenches thirst (John 7:37-39).

What Christians believe Jesus is offering is better than any energy drink or gourmet meal, because he offers hope and fulfillment - both in this life and beyond.

The Christians' New Testament declares Jesus' words, "Come and drink," allude to the life-giving blessings prophesied in Isaiah 12:2-3, 44:3-4; 58:11.

Through the study of God's word, I have become better equipped to execute my missions as a Soldier, wife, mom and good neighbor.

These qualities fulfill my obligation to the Army's Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Model, which is intended to build our resilience and enhance performance.

In this five-dimension or five-star model, when a Soldier focuses on his physical, family, emotional, spiritual and social needs, he becomes more well-rounded and is able to meet the everyday challenges of life and the difficult challenges of serving in the military.

Are you assessing your life and gaining the knowledge and tools to equip you for your ever-changing world?

Fulghum declared real wisdom was not found at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday school.

Perhaps, like so many of us, you have forgotten the lessons of life taught at Sunday school?

Maybe you never went to Sunday school.

However, someone told you throughout your school years helpful things to get you where you are today.

As one of your chaplains, I would like say we are here to help guide you as well.

Deepening your faith, regardless of your spiritual tradition, is a good way to find equilibrium despite the challenges of life; spiritual food is just as critical as phsyical sustenance.

The JBER chapel system offers free resources that will help you get your spiritual journey started or renewed.