I was in the Navy for nine years of my life. Prior to my time in the military, I spent most of my formative years in the Catholic school system. I also spend two painful years in boarding school. I basically went from one structured environment to another. I took a few habits from these environments, and I still carry them with me on daily activities.
I heard one of Admiral McRaven’ speech a while ago. He said if you want to change the world start by making your bed. This basic task sets your day every day. One who makes his or her bed everyday accomplishes at the first daily task. One task accomplished leads to another, and so on. In my nine years in the Navy, I was making my bed everyday. It did not matter whether I slept in a barrack or a berthing. My bed was made everyday, or my rack(name for bunk bed in a ship) was made. I never paid attention to this task until two years ago. I was already out of the Navy. My mother had succumbed to cancer, and I was grief stricken. A few days after my mother’s death, I woke up and I made my bed. I felt like I completed a task, which I did. I completed one task and another, and my lethargy waned. I was still sad after my mother’s death, but I was able to continue living despite my grief.
Another habit, I picked from the military is having my clothes well pressed and my boots shinning. We would get inspected any day on our workday. Our supervisor will inspect us regularly. Having clothes well pressed and boots made one take pride in his or her appearance. This pride spoke volume of whom one was. This pride was a representation of a unit, oneself and whatever one stood for. I still press my clothes and shine my shoes, even though I am out of the service.
Discipline has provided a path for me throughout my life. It has given me a way of life, and it has helped me understand various groups of people throughout my time in Japan. I would not have survived in the military without discipline, and I hope as a father to pass it to my future children.