When I sat down this morning I couldn’t think about anything to write about other than my recent experience with the United States Marine Corps. This past week I attended an Educators Workshop that introduces counselors, teachers, and principals to a behind the scenes look at what happens when a new recruit enters the Marine Corp. This workshop is designed so that some of the myths about the Marines could be dispelled which in turn could help with recruiting quality students for the military.
The few days I spent in Parris Island was truly life changing. When we got off the bus we had a drill instructor in our face giving us commands that many of us couldn’t understand. In-between being yelled at we gradually learned what recruits experience when they step off the bus at Parris Island. We learned many of their traditions and the overall process of how they make Marines. They endure a grueling 13 week program that tests them mentally and physically. I was only there for a few days and I could begin to see how difficult it would be to be trapped on an island with no contact with the outside world other than snail mail.
On one end I felt truly sorry for the recruits because of the challenges they were facing. Then I realized that these young men and women could possibly come face to face with true lethal conflict in their lives. You can’t have the mindset of a typical civilian when faced with that level of adversity. I also feel that if you are able to maintain a level of mental toughness throughout this process, then when life throws you challenges, you may be better equipped to handle it. This process was teaching them respect. Every Marine I encountered showed a level of respect across the board. Even when some of the educators were asking questions that would make a normal person cringe out of irritation, these service men and women continued to be respectful and answer the question. That’s a level of patience and service that’s not always seen in the real world.
My stance on maintaining peace still remains. I didn’t leave that workshop wanting to become an NRA member or any other stereotype that we give to military supporters. But I did leave with a new found respect for those who do choose to serve. In a perfect world we wouldn’t need a military because humans would find a way to have peace and harmony on earth. I understand that we are far off from that concept, so anyone who volunteers their livelihood to protect the freedoms we have in this country, I have no choice but to show love and support for those individuals. And to wish that they return peaceful without needing to use any unnecessary force against those that may impose as a threat to that freedom.
Here are some key thoughts I took away from this trip.
- A healthy level of discipline is needed if you want to get positive results.
- Your mind will give up before your body does.
- No matter the conversation, it’s important to stay respectful.
- Be one step ahead of tomorrow.
If anything I learned to put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable. Pain is a requirement of growth. If I only experienced bliss and only went towards the easy roads in life I wouldn’t learn about different communities and how they operate. As you venture out and learn about others, you will start to question your lifestyle and see if you’re still following your truth. Challenging your ideas makes you stronger as you move forward. Take safe risks while you discover everything this world has to offer. Be well. Metta.