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Chappy’s corner “Learning by example!”

Ole and Swen needed extra money to keep the family farm in business. So Ole told Swen about the National Guard.  You only have to drill two days a month and two weeks a year and with the extra cash we both would get we can keep the farm going. So they both sign up, but they must pass a physical test. After the exam, the doctor tells Ole, “You are ready to join; all you need to do is pass a psychological exam.” Ole gets nervous, because he thinks Swen might not pass this test, so he tells Swen, “Listen I will go in first and hear the questions, and then after I’m done. I will come out and give you the answers.” Swen says, “Okay Ole, you are the smart one!”  Ole comes in and the doctor says, “Ole I have a question for you.  If I took this knife and poked your eye out, what would happen?” Ole replies, “I would be half blind!” Doctor then asks, “What if I poked out your other eye?” Ole replies, “Then I would be totally blind and I couldn’t see a thing!”  “Good job! Now go and get the next recruit in here, “the doctor shouts as Ole leaves the room. So Ole quickly tells Swen, “the first answer is “half blind” and the second answer is “totally blind I can’t see a thing.”  Swen enters the room and the doctor asks him, “Swen if I took this knife and cut off your right ear what would happen?” Swen immediately says, “I would be half blind!” The doctor is stunned, but decides to ask the next question, “What if I took this knife and cut off your left ear too, and then what would happen?” Swen immediately answers, “I would be totally blind and I couldn’t see a thing!”  The doctor is confused and asks, “How in the world could you be totally blind if I cut of your ears?”  Swen replied, “Well if you cut off both my ears, then my John Deere cap would fall over my eyes and I would be totally blind and couldn’t see a thing.” According to some sources, Ole is now the TAG and Swen is the State CSM for the state of Minnesota

I share that story to help folks remember what it was like to get into the military.  The different branches of the military all have certain requirements to get in and the same is true for most civilian careers.  In order to get the job one needs certain skills or training.  But even when a person gets into the military or into a job, there is still more to learn and much of that learning will be “on the job” training or as some folks call it “the school of hard knocks”.   Much of my education in the military and in my civilian life came by learning from the mistakes I made in the past.  Thankfully there were folks who helped me by correcting my errors and by patiently giving me guidance by the way they did their job.  Many call those folks “mentors” and now I’m in the position to mentor others as they get started in their careers.  Hopefully I can be as patient with them as others were with me.

One advantage I have in mentoring is being a parent.  Children don’t come with directions, but normally parents do have mentors in grandparents, neighbors and friends. Their advice can be very helpful. However what truly helps in raising children is the love a parent has for their child. That love motivates us to spend time with them playing ball, helping with homework, or racing them across town for soccer practice.

That love is what motivated God to send His only Son into this world to save us.  As the bible states, “God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  In Jesus we have a Savior, but also a wonderful example to follow.

That’s just my thoughts from this snowy SE corner of South Dakota!

CH (COL) David Gunderson

JFHQ      SDARNG