Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 8th, 2009

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

This post is dedicated to my cousin, Mike Johnson. There are things in this world that we can be sad about. There are things we can be mad about. And there are things we won't understand. What I know for sure is that he is not sad or mad, and he understood what it meant to love his country, his family, and his life.

Mike is a U.S. Marine. Always will be. He served the past few months for our freedom in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, he and three other Marines were ambushed and killed in a situation we will never fully know. He paid the ultimate price. He laid down his life for his friends.

I recognize that the above verse references a different implementation of this concept, but I think Mike embodied its applicability today. An email he sent on August 14th reads:

Hey everyone,
I'm doing well out here. Everyday is a new challenge, which makes things interesting and the time fly by. Afghan national elections are in 6 days. We've really stepped up our presence out here and I think we are doing a pretty good job at keeping the bad guys at bay or on the run, at least in my area. I'll let you know after elections if that holds true. Hope everyone is well,
Love you guys,

His flag-draped casket was flown back to the U.S. last night. Because he was there, we don't have to worry as much about the 'bad guys' on our turf. He wanted to serve us and he believed in the mission. Semper Fidelis is the motto of the USMC, and it means "always faithful." That is why he stood by the mission. I do, too. My reaction is not anger towards the war...because I don't think that's the way Mike felt. My reaction is humble thanks towards those living out the above Bible verse.

Mike leaves behind a family that loves him to an extent that I believe he can now truly experience. He attached a picture to the aforementioned email that is symbolic. It was the view from the observation post above where he lived. It now represents his presence among us.

Godspeed sir...thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fight. Fight. Fight.

Today's post is on my mind and it is on my heart. I share it with you not as an encouragement to focus on negative circumstances, but as a way to proactively face reality.

I believe our generation has a unique challenge. We will be affected by disease, chronic illnesses, and health scares of all kinds in a unique way. As things become clearer to me that my MS diagnosis is real, I reflect on the fact that so many of us are one degree (if not the degree) away from a story of health depletion. I am blown away at how "normal" it is to hear about tragic situations...and bummed at how desensitized we can become to that news. There are variations in severity, but what we consume (in all forms of the word) and how our body reacts is becoming more complex than we can comprehend.

My question is: how do we respond? You are thinking to yourself right now about that example of sickness which most resonates with you. It is no joke. I get it. Our response is what will set us apart from those who came before us and those who come after us. Crazy stories of life and death are all around us. It is not time to play cliche games of optimism versus pessimism. It is time to grab the bull by the horns. What you see below is an internal conversation I had with myself recently and is by no means meant to be the answer for the masses.

  1. Do not even think about shedding what is important when things are at their worst. Whether it be friends, faith, family, sports, work, pets, yard work, or just plain being social, now is not the time to think about giving them up. It's not "don't give them up," it's "don't even think about giving them up." Your mind can't handle the thought of giving them up.
  2. Address the situation head on with those who matter. Don't play games. Be straight up and let those people in who need to be in.
  3. Have a tough skin. My grandfather, Colonel Norm Chase, was infamous for the saying, "When the tough gets tough, the tough get tougher." See the title of this post.
  4. Let love out. Everyone has a different reaction to support. Some people want a ton of it and some people feel awkward when given it. No matter how you take love, I think giving love is more important during the rough patches.
  5. Thinking about the worst-case-scenario is okay. Use it as motivation to face things differently.
  6. Pray.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Little Help Here...

I am working on a "lesson plan" for a leadership presentation I am doing on Friday. What I would like to do is give some examples (e.g., video, audio, purely name examples, music lyrics) for the different historical leadership theories. I'm looking for examples for each of these. Let me know if you have ideas!

GREAT MAN (ONE) – persons are born with certain heroic leadership traits/qualities

TRAIT THEORIES – certain traits or characteristics distinguish leaders from followers (who someone is makes him/her a leader)

BEHAVIOR THEORIES – what a person does makes him/her a leader

CONTINGENCY THEORIES – situational or contextual variable influence what leader behaviors will be effective

INFLUENCE THEORIES – studied the influence process between leader and follower (e.g., charismatic, leadership vision, etc.)

RELATIONAL THEORIES – how leaders and followers interact and influence each other