Like most Veterans, I’m occasionally asked about the “military experience” and I’m always amazed at how fresh the memories can be when prompted. Today on Veteran’s Day, I’ve been “prompted”, but instead of old stories, I want to mention 5 life-lessons I value every day that I learned in the Army (other than a love for coffee and weaponry).
1. My limits are usually farther than I think: It’s incredible how much more you can do physically and mentally when needed. Drill instructors helped me to learn that there’s usually “one more mile left” when I think there isn’t.
2. An appreciation for people of various backgrounds: Throughout my enlistment, most of my close friends were of different ethnicities and regions. As a guy coming from a small town, I had a lot to learn, but quickly grew to appreciate the things we had in common, like family stories, personal interests and laughter.
3. There’s a difference between rank and respect: A title or position may come with privilege and authority, but the personal respect of peers and subordinates can only be earned.
4. A “Drive-on” mindset: When the plan breaks down, or the equipment fails, there’s great value in having an “adapt-and-over-come” mentality. Whether it takes Duct Tape, a big hammer, or an alternate route, sometimes we just need to keep “driving on” (and always carry a Swiss Army knife).
5. The strength of Christ in me: Upon arrival at Boot Camp, it was very obvious that I wasn’t at home anymore, but God was faithful every single day. He empowered me in ways I didn’t even know existed and He still does – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13
Thanks to all of you who have served our great nation – Happy Veterans Day!