I just got to thinking today, that over the years we always seem to struggle with some little things. I will give you one example. The water bottles. We may have a team of 30 or 40 kids. Before they go out to practice, they all know we need water bottles. The caddy with the water bottles weighs about 2 pounds. But they will not bring the water bottles out to practice unless they are directly told to by a coach. Let that sink in for minute. 30 to 40 kids. All of them will walk right by this caddy as they exit the locker room. Not one of them can pick it up. Not one. Day after day.
When the time comes at practice for the players to get a drink of water they all look around and gripe that nobody took the water bottles out to practice. This scene repeats day after day after day.
I’m not going to ask you why that is. I already know the answer. What I will ask is why we settle for being so much less than we can be? What I will ask is why is this type of behavior so common? What I will ask is what you are doing to change it in yourself and others?
Memorial Day fast approaches us. If there is any day of the year that can teach us to recognize that pursuing our own selfish interests is nothing admirable, this should be the day. This should be the day when we realize that we are at our best when we put other people before us. We are at our best when we serve, not expect to be served. This should be the day when we learn to bravely overcome our fear of doing simple little tasks as we realize the tremendous sacrifices others have made. This is the day we should look at those who gave their lives and then look in the mirror and recognize that we ourselves give so very little in comparison. This is the day when we can refuse to be small people of small effort.
I am not encouraging anyone to sign up for military service. That is a personal choice. What I am encouraging is that you sign up for service. No contract to sign. No appointment to make. No group to join. Rather each day make a little effort. Do something that benefits someone other than you. Not because you have to, but because you realize the world is not just about you, and each day you want to confirm that to the world.
While each of those kids will not bring those water bottles out, there always seems to be a couple that will bring them in. Not because they are told to. But because they will not ignore work that needs to be done. They will not pretend that they didn’t see the water bottles. They will not pretend they forgot. Those kids know they are better for taking some initiative. Those kids realize a little extra work won’t hurt them. Those kids realize they are better for stepping up. Even in a small way. Those guys give me hope and inspire me.
I never want to be too good to carry a water bottle.
Below is piece of writing that demonstrates initiative, planning, resourcefulness, dependability, and selflessness.
Excerpt from the SEAL Creed:
The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.
Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.
We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.
I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.
We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.