Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The General

I recall a general who was sent to invigorate the American forces in South Korea in the 1970s.

Invigorate them he did. Training and combat exercises were increased, including ones with live fire. Everyone, including the cooks and mechanics, had to run two miles a day. All officers had to teach a class. Everyone in the command had to take Korean language courses. The word went out that any type of racial discrimination would not be tolerated. He even reported on the quality of condoms and the reduction of venereal disease. Few, if any, aspects of the soldiers' lives were unaffected by the general's program.

In addition to whipping troops into shape, the general freely admitted that he had another goal: he wanted the people under his command to experience the fullness of life. He was onto "Be all that you can be" before it became a recruiting slogan.

Most of us in the civilian sector have less power than a general, but his example is worthy of consideration as he turned his command into a life-affirming experience. If only more of our civilian jobs contained such meaning.

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