AAAA Family Forum / By Judy Konitzer: We celebrated holidays and brought in 2021 with a serving of “black-eyed peas” for good luck and a desire to make resolutions more meaningful. I found the following suggestions from two Veterans to be worthy of consideration.
GRAPHIC BY MEGHAN HUTTO
Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw on Veterans Day shared his philosophy that living with certain principles and beliefs can make you happy and successful, and we should not be forgetful why Veterans fought for us in the first place. It’s important to be helpful, honest, caring, and a loving patriot while loving yourself, as well as your neighbor, and never giving up on what is right. It is too easy today to lose gratitude for America and so much easier to demand more of others than yourself. “Accountability and responsibility are hard concepts to accept.”
Crenshaw said, “Putting hardships in perspective allows gratitude and from there comes hope and perseverance.” His mother died when he was 10, but he remembers her dealing with cancer with grit, humor, and grace. He was blinded in one eye after being hit by an IED when deployed as a Navy Seal in Afghanistan and felt this was difficult, yet felt other Soldiers endured worse. And knowing Gold Star wives who persevere puts even more things in perspective.
Do Something Hard
He feels that true purpose and happiness is achieved thru hardship and when they are forced upon you, “you must embrace them because you have no choice.” Overcoming pain builds character and more fortitude to do something even harder, therefore suffering should not be avoided but embraced, because “with suffering comes value.”
Live According To Your True Purpose With No Plan B
Having a “Plan A” means giving 110% to living according to the purpose and mission you know you have and is a deeper concept than just giving up. If you really can’t do something you should have a back-up plan, if it is not Plan B, which means cutting corners and doing just enough to get by giving you mediocrity.
Right Sense Of Shame
Shame is good when it means you feel bad about your shortcomings and don’t lazily accept them. This is hard because none of us are fine the way we are. We have work to do and need to be held accountable in order to pave the way to do what is right. He feels our institutions seem to be coddling our youth by telling them they are never wrong or in need of self-improvement allowing building their self-esteem as the goal.
Sense Of Duty
In the military our sense of duty is deeply engrained and becomes self-evident. There are rules because no one is perfect, but this sense of duty must be self-actualizing, meaning doing the simplest things right, working hard, and doing what it takes vs. being the weakest link. Laws can be enforced after they are broken, but it takes a good and moral people to avoid breaking them in the first place, otherwise we are nothing but a society in turmoil and chaos.
American values are not necessarily self-sustaining. Personal responsibility, personal fortitude, moral truth, and gratitude for our Nation to pursue our happiness are things that must be taught and passed down. “We must mold our future generations instead of simply reflecting the whims of a restless youth.” Also, our country cannot survive the increasing number of citizens wishing to survive off the work of others, while realizing we must take care of our neighbors before demanding our government do it all.
Join Community Organizations
LTG (Ret.) H. R. McMaster shared in a Wall Street Journal op ed that “Veterans by joining community organizations can help their fellow citizens by sharing the type of experiences they have valued where “bigotry, racism, and other forms of intolerance and prejudice have no place.” They can encourage their fellow citizens to be bound together through a sense of common purpose, mutual respect and willingness to sacrifice. By understanding the rewards of military service their fellow citizens could” transcend political and social differences, thereby regaining confidence in our national character and restoring pride in the republic that veterans fought to preserve.”