Wednesday, March 08, 2006
My father the optimist
My father is the eternal optimist. In 1960 he was 17 years old when he joined the US army. He was such a skinny, scrawny (underage) boy that my grandfather had to sign him up. He had to eat bananas and milkshakes to gain a few pounds to make the weight requirement. Not long after he joined Uncle Sam, that the police action broke out. He was sent over to Vietnam as apart of the 101st Airborne, a.k.a the Screaming Eagles. I know it was a frightening time for him but he made the best of his new world. He learned to scuba dive, bought semi precious stones and watched kickboxing. He even joined up for a second tour.
There is a great story about my father volunteering to go up a mountain to bring down a group of infantry men/radio team who's radio had broken and needed guided down. He went up and came back down no problem. When he got back he was asked by his commanding officer "how bad was it?" You see, without my father knowing it the hill had been taken and surrounded. He didn't see a thing. This is common for my father to not see a thing. That's not to say he didn't have his fair share of bad times including being shot in the leg. I am telling you this because even after the horrors of war my father can still see the good side in everyone. He believes very strongly that you make the best of where you are.
I am very proud of my father. For all my father has been through in his life he has taught me that there is always an upside that no matter how bad you feel about yourself you are a worth while person. As a child he would always sit me down and say "tell me all the good things about yourself". The paragraph below is an email sent to me by my father. I think he is a fantastic writer and a welcome voice of hope.
There are negative influences all around, but you don't have to allow them to control you. There are disappointments which regularly come along, but you don't have to allow them to discourage you. There are lots of temptations, but you don't have to let them distract you. There are plenty of excuses, but you don't need to let them stop you. You can decide to be discouraged by the setbacks, or you can decide to be motivated even more. It's your decision. You can decide to give up when the obstacles seem overwhelming. Or you can decide to persist and grow stronger. You can decide to let anger, envy, frustration and bitterness drain your energy. Or you can decide to move beyond them into a more productive state. You can decide to let your fears stop you cold. Or you can decide to let those fears and concerns prepare you to move forward. You can decide to bury your dreams down deep inside where they'll never see the light of day. Or you can decide to follow those dreams by doing whatever it takes. You can wish and talk about what you want from life. Yet what you actually end up with depends on the decisions you make as you live each moment.
Thanks dad, I love you too.
Please click on the words Screaming Eagles and have a look at this famous infantry.