A while back I posted a commencement address by Admiral William H. McRaven.
Each month in a local paper, our daughter Kathryn posts an article on Population Health. When I read the article, I got all chest puffy and proud of my daughter’s material as well as learning that a family Sunday Night gathering was remembered. I feel Admiral McRaven and my daughters post kind of go hand in hand.
In case you didn’t see my McRaven post, here is that excerpt. Here is a part of the commencement address to the graduates of The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014 by Admiral William H. McRaven.
Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed. If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack — that’s Navy talk for bed.
It was a simple task — mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.
(Text of entire speech if interested: https://jamesclear.com/great-speeches/make-your-bed-by-admiral-william-h-mcraven
Daughter Kathryn remembers Sunday nights long ago.
So, I grew up in Connecticut, one of three children of a State Trooper and a nurse. One of my best memories was of Sunday nights. My dad would work on preparing for the week. My dad would get out his badge, his belt buckle, and his rank. He would then ask us all to get our shoes lined up. We only got one pair of shoes at the beginning of the school year, and they were usually leather.
My mom would get her white uniforms out. He would lay all his uniform parts out on the floor. He would get out the ironing board, take out his brass cleaning kit, his leather kit and proceed to wax, polish, and iron. He would shine his brass until it glistened, polish our leather shoes until we could see ourselves in the toes, and then iron his uniforms and my mom’s.
Sometimes he would teach us how to do it, other times we just sat and talked with him about our day. It was a labor of love, and also pride for himself and our family. When I joined the Air Force, I continued that ritual, polishing my boots, ironing my uniform…. Today, I still polish my shoes and iron my clothes, preparing for my week.
We are all so busy. We move throughout our weeks driven by kids, family, jobs, community commitments, friends, and so much more. We rarely get a minute to breathe. What I have found, is this simple act of taking time to prepare makes a difference and allows some of life’s chaos to turn into calm. Taking a break to plan can have a positive impact on our well-being. It gives us time to pause and look ahead.
What if all we were able to take a pause, one day a week and prepare? What could we accomplish? We could plan a few lunches or dinner meals at home, avoiding fast food drive-throughs for a day. We could plan time to talk a walk, exercise at the gym, ride a bike, maybe spend time with family or friends. We could even make time to plan for our health. We could schedule an annual physical, a mammogram, flu shot, or much-needed colonoscopy if we need one? What about a few minutes to check any prescriptions and make sure they aren’t about to run out?
Think of how much money we could save, the stress we could lower, health we could improve. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” What would it hurt, to stop wishing for life to slow down, and instead, plan for it? Maybe try it this week, stop for 15 minutes and write down one thing you plan to do for yourself, then DO IT. Let me know how it goes!