Posted in Education, Life Lessons, Literature, Personal Responsibility, U.S. Navy, tagged Guidelines, Life Lessons, Live that thou bearest the strain, Poem, The Laws of the Navy on February 2, 2011|
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Every life journey will inevitably be cobbled with periods of unrest and uncertainty. As we travel through life we will come upon paths that have become overgrown or muddied. It’s not easy to tell which direction to go. We quite easily lose our way.
It is during these times that we question our lives and the surroundings we find ourselves in. How did I get here? Where am I going? How will I know if I’m headed in the right direction? What tools and supplies will I need along the way to help me reach my destination? We search everywhere we can, trying to find clues. We often can’t tell if the paths that we find are the ones leading forward or the ones we came in on. The faster we charge ahead without any real direction, the more befuddled we become. Conviction is replaced by ambivalence. Our doubts quickly turn to fear.
We all experience these dilemmas in life, because some things are just universal.
But just as we are not the first to become lost, we will not be first to find our way forward. When we rely on the wisdom of those who have gone before us, we are able to find a unique clarity not apparent to those choosing to stumble through the brush without any guidance. And so it is today that I turn to a wiser and more learned man than myself.
There is a time-honored document, well known within Navy circles, that experiences little renown within the rest of society. Penned in 1896, by Ronald A Hopwood, an officer in the British Royal Navy, these “Laws” are just as valid today as they were at the time they were written and have inspired many a sailor to make enlightened, effective decisions throughout not only his Navy career, but his life. I hope that you will find them just as inspiring and that they will provide you some much needed guidance on your own journey through life.
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A friend of mine asked on FB, the other day, how she could teach her kids about “giving.” They seemed to be going through an “I want everything!” phase, as she put it. So, she wondered how she might instill in them a desire and understanding of how important it is to give to others and the joy that comes from such giving. Her idea was to take them each to the store to buy gifts for each other, but wondered whether this would simply lead to more presents under the tree. This raised a very important question, which led me to conclude, after much thought, that the ways we often try to teach our children about “giving” have actually led, in part, to the current problems we, as a society, are facing.
What is “giving”? What does it truly mean to “give” to someone else?
To start…”Giving” involves sacrifice. It’s true that you can give something to someone else that doesn’t belong to you, but that doesn’t invoke the spirit of giving and, therefore, does not produce the joy that results from giving from your heart. In fact, giving something that doesn’t belong to you isn’t really “giving” at all…it’s stealing (even if it’s just the credit)! If you haven’t lost anything, what have you given?
When you sacrifice something in order to “give” to others, there is a natural, good feeling that you get from placing another person’s needs before your own desires. This is what’s meant by the phrase, “The joy of giving”…The joy that comes from being able to make someone else smile, from knowing that someone else’s day was made just a little bit brighter, because of you. Without this intrinsic reward, “giving” really just becomes a chore, something we do because we think we should. (more…)
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