Young Soldiers

I was talking to a buddy about raising our children. He and his wife had varying views on things, but he said, that she told him, “You can’t raise your kids like they’re young soldiers.”

Why not?

I understand that there are various things you cannot teach them like you can Soldiers, but the baseline foundation of discipline and expectations should be instilled. I raised my kids very similar to how I led Soldiers. I expected them to perform at their highest potential. I set the bar increasingly high for them. I had talks with them repeatedly and burned into there heads that they must go HARD at everything they do. NEVER, EVER leave anything on the table. They played soccer and basketball and I pushed them and pushed them to go their hardest in each.

There is a big difference between their intensity when I am pushing them and when I am not. I wanted them to be able to play at that same tempo, that same 100% effort with or without me present on the sideline. My biggest fear was that they will make the same mistakes I did. I had so much potential and did not realize it until I was older in my years, when I did not have the opportunity to go back and take advantage of my opportunities. If only I had seized the opportunity, when I had it.

You only have one chance to seize everything you ever wanted in life. ONE. I taught them to not live with regret. Nobody ever wants to say, I could’ve, would’ve, should’ve. Erase all those regrets and seize the moment.

Family is EVERYTHING! I always thought my friends were my family.

Why wouldn’t I have?

They were there for me in high school when my parents never understood anything I did. When I needed support in sports, school, girls….they weren’t there for me. So I thought. I looked back recently and found that they were there every step of the way, I just chose to not accept it. I thought my friends understood me better than me. I thought that the only people who would ever love me and be with me forever were my friends. Then I went through trying times in my life. I joined the military. I lived in foreign lands.

Where were these so-called friends?

I would reach out to them repeatedly, yet, I would not receive the same gesture. Who was it that would always call me, write me, send me things, show me love?

My family. My family was with me at the airport when I left and they were there when I returned.

I taught my kids that life was precious and not to take it for granted. Their life and other peoples lives. Love like there is no tomorrow. If you love someone you should say it often. A counselor once told me, that I should allow my children to live without knowing the reality of death, that is the beauty of being a child and to know they are safe. I tend to disagree somewhat. Yes, they should be allowed to not have to think about death at such an early age. But on the same note, I want to prepare them now and for the future. I continually tell them that the train does not stop for anyone. If something bad happens, you get up and drive on.

My daughter got in trouble last night for something. She was sad because me and her mom came down on her pretty hard. I told her when I was tucking her in bed that she shouldn’t be sad. She should learn from the experience, correct what needs to be corrected and drive on. I made the analogy to playing sports. If someone should knock you down on the ground, do you sit there and get mad or sit there and cry?

No, you immediately jump on and keep on playing.

If life confronts you with obstacles and adversity, do what you need to do to overcome them. Do NOT play the victim and wallow in depression! DO NOT! Pick yourself up and go through the motions towards progress. What does that mean? At times of serious adversity, I have been lost. I lost my way. I did not know what direction to go. I picked myself up and chose a direction and ran with it. If I found that I was heading in the wrong direction, I made the adjustment and moved in the direction I felt was correct.

You cannot stay stagnant. You must be always moving in a positive direction and towards a goal. The goal can be as small as going grocery shopping to as large as getting the job that you’ve always wanted. Read the book, “Who Moved My Cheese” This follows the same premise. Life changes. You have to adapt and make the appropriate changes and evolve!


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