<![CDATA[Recruiter Journal - Chaplain]]>Wed, 23 Dec 2015 19:47:27 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Start new year with fresh perspective]]>Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:28:13 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/chaplain/start-new-year-with-fresh-perspectivePicture
By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Dallas Walker

Have you ever noticed how many people spend New Year’s Eve with family and friends sending off the old year with a fond farewell watching the Ball Drop at Times Square, and singing Auld Lang Syne?

Many celebrate the evening festivities with tremendous anticipation and great expectations that their lives will be fuller and richer in the new year.  

And yet, have you ever noticed how many people continue to reminisce about old wounds and past regrets? Unfortunately, people hold back from pursuing their resolutions, because they aren’t truly convinced their lives will change for the better.  

The Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon, is a book about a guy named George, who reminds me of how I react sometimes when things don’t go my way.

George is a delightful character, but he can’t seem to get a break no matter how hard he tries.

His marriage is falling apart even though he loves his wife. His boss isn’t happy with him even though he tries to do the right things. George can’t get along with his coworkers and feels underappreciated, overstressed and overworked.

George has to ride a bus – the energy bus - to and from work for a couple of weeks while his car is being repaired.

The daily bus rides take George on a wonderful journey whereby he learns valuable life-changing lessons from the other passengers.  

So if you feel like George – having to deal with just one more inconvenience for an inconvenient life - then maybe it’s time you board the energy bus and take a different route.

Maybe it’s time to stop allowing negativity to influence your actions and energy vampires to rob your joy? Maybe it’s time to embark on a new journey with a fresh approach by learning to have fun and enjoy the ride through 2015.  

<![CDATA[handling lifelong struggle with education]]>Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:40:37 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/chaplain/handling-life-long-struggle-with-educationPicture
By Maj. (Chaplain) Bob Williams, 5th Brigade

Struggling can be one of the best classes to take in gaining a good education. For me, struggling in education started in elementary school. I struggled with hard classes, poor grades, and feelings of failure. I had serious doubts about myself. 

But struggling academically helped me to grow and learn from my experiences. It revealed a better person despite all my doubts and fears. I did not have a love for school. Education became more like an enemy. I struggled to make good grades and each time I moved up to the next grade, the work got progressively more difficult and I became more and more frustrated.  When assigned to reading groups every year, the teacher placed me in the bottom group out of three levels. I felt trapped at the bottom of the barrel unable to get out.

But somewhere deep inside me I was determined not to quit.  In my later teen years, I did earn my high school education.  But what I couldn’t quite understand was, “why did I have to study twice as hard as the average person to squeak by with a “C” or maybe a “B” if I was lucky?

Then, one day in high school while reading my Bible, I read about a man named Paul. Unlike me, Paul was an academic person.  Paul studied under a man named Gamaliel, one of the top scholars in all of Israel. 

As I read about Paul, it dawned on me that even after he became a Christian, his life was not easy.  In fact, it became harder.  When he shared his beliefs in Christ, he was ridiculed, stoned, beaten, ship wrecked, laughed at, and even imprisoned.  He struggled himself. 

I said to myself, “If this guy could keep going despite his incredible hardships, I could too.”  My understanding of Paul’s determination became the strength I needed to continue my academic struggle. 

I did make it through high school and enrolled for a post-graduate year at Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va.  At Fork Union, I took another preparatory year of high school classes and played football at the same time.  This decision resulted in one of the best things that I could have done.  At Fork Union, I learned to discipline myself to be a good Soldier and student.  I learned how to study effectively.  

In an article written by Michael Moynihan, “How to Help Your Son When He Is Struggling Academically” (2013, September), he suggests a six-step program which helps a person become successful.[1]  

      1. Insist that your child use his assignment notebook.  Every day when your child gets home, check to see if he or she has assignments written down in this notebook. 
       2.  Prepare a quiet place for your child to do homework that is free from all distractions. 
       3.  Establish a study schedule for your child at home. 
       4.  Consider removing all video games from the home and greatly limiting computer and screen time in general.
       5.  Encourage your child to exercise and require him or her to do chores around the house.
       6.  Contact your child’s adviser or teacher to discuss a plan to help him or her improve.

These six steps remain good tools for those who continue their life-long pursuit of learning. In the end, I learned that struggling through adversity was the best class I could take.  I  was determined to earn an education despite all my struggles.

Through the grace of God and hard work, I graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, a Master of Divinity, a Master of Counseling, and a Doctorate of Ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

When I need inspiration and encouragement to learn and succeed in education, I often think of my favorite scripture verse; “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).   And friend, you can too!

[1] Retrieved from: http://www.heights.edu/reflections/how-to-help-when-your-son-is-struggling-academically/


<![CDATA[Finding Balance Between taking care of the mission and taking care of self]]>Mon, 21 Apr 2014 17:27:21 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/chaplain/finding-balance-between-taking-care-of-the-mission-and-taking-care-of-selfPicture
It all about balance and self-discipline!

By Chaplain (Capt) Patrice Mbo, USAREC, 1st Brigade
April 21, 2014

One of the many challenges we face in recruiting is finding the right balance between performance and self-care. Let me share with you a verse from the Bible that I think can speak to us about this tension we all experience in one way or another:  

Nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15-16)

The "lamp" represents the recruiters, and "the light" is their passion to serve in the Army.  The verse required that such a light be shared with our communities so others can appreciate the honor to serve and can ultimately join the Army. This is a great mission that we perform every day with dedication. But at the same time it is very important that we find the right balance between performance and taking care of ourselves in order to stay focused on the mission and achieve our personal and professional goals.

You ask, “How do we do that?”  The answer is self-discipline.  Practicing self-discipline allows us to take care of our body, mind and soul. A German proverb says: “God gives the nuts but he does not crack them.” It is everyone’s responsibility to develop and maintain an appropriate physical, mental and spiritual fitness. Those three aspects of our well-being are not separated from one another. They are actually equally important. However, it takes self-disciplined commitment to sustain and make personal improvements.

First, establish a routine physical fitness plan and exercise.  This is crucial to keeping one’s body healthy and it helps prevent illness and reduce ill effects of stress.  Exercise will  also enable you to meet height and weight standards and pass the semiannual Army Physical Fitness Test. This is particularly important during a time when the Army is down-sizing. Furthermore, you’ll build stamina and have more energy for daily tasks and evening leisure.

Second, through mental fitness we gain a better awareness of our potential. We learn the tools to build strong coping skills. Mental fitness should be understood here as our intentional practice of self-awareness and the integration of such understanding into developing and maintaining healthy relationships. The practice of mental fitness is to develop a better sense of self as we learn how to recognize our assumptions, our strengths and limits. It could be done through self-education, but it is also effective when facilitated by a professional counselor, therapist, chaplain, etc., who could help us process our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and others in an objective manner.

Finally, when we invest in our spiritual fitness through the practice of our faith and philosophical view, we stimulate a better sense of hope and meaning that enables us to face our challenges in a more efficient way.

Soldiers and their families often get strength and comfort from their religious and spiritual resources. In fact, regardless of our backgrounds, we all approach our challenges with a lifetime of skills and beliefs. 

The practice of spiritual fitness is to focus upon connecting self with the spiritual beliefs, experiences, practices, and rituals, which enhance our resiliency skills and our feelings of peacefulness. Everyone is strongly encouraged to find what works best for him or her whether it is spiritual counseling, education, attendance to a particular faith community, or other spiritual tools.

Self-discipline of the body, mind and soul enables people to keep a sense of meaning and duty while serving in the Army. Though we may feel the natural stress of facing personal and professional challenges, we are reminded through self-discipline to develop the conditions for maintaining a better balance between performing and self-care.

     As we continue to work hard towards the mission of enlisting quality young men and women into the Army, we remain dedicated and professionals. Remember, it is all about balance and self-discipline!

<![CDATA[Compassion, faith must guide us through latest senseless tragedy]]>Thu, 03 Apr 2014 15:16:32 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/chaplain/compassion-faith-must-guide-us-through-latest-senseless-tragedyPicture
 April 3, 2014

By Chaplain-Capt. Patrice Mbo, 1st Recruiting Brigade Chaplain

Yesterday we lost fellow Soldiers in the tragedy of another Fort Hood shooting. Because of the circumstances of their deaths, we are gripped with a range of emotions. The sadness over the loss of those who were killed in the line of duty, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country, but could have never expected to face death in such circumstances.

There is so much we will never know about the reasons of such a cruel act. But what we do know is that in the aftermath of such a tragedy we come together as a family and we stand Army Strong and resilient in support of each other.

It is our duty to honor those who perished as well as it is to affirm the impact of their lives. Our hearts grieve the losses and we pray for their families. May we never forget their sacrifices, and do our duty towards them by learning lessons to protect the force and continue to faithfully live the Army Values.

For those who have been injured during this tragedy we pray for complete healing, body, mind and soul; we also pray for their families and for the military community. 

I leave you with the words of a song we have heard so often by bugle.  The words of "Taps" read:

"Day is done, gone the sun, from the lakes, from the hills, from the sky.

All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Then goodnight, peaceful night, till the light, of the dawn shineth bright,

God is near, do not fear, friend, Goodnight."

<![CDATA[Living Your Faith in the Army]]>Thu, 27 Feb 2014 20:34:57 GMThttp://www.therecruiterjournal.com/chaplain/living-your-faith-in-the-armyBy Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Oliver, USAREC

As an Army chaplain my non-military friends and family regularly ask me, "How do you do it? How do you hold on to your beliefs, your convictions, your faith while working in an environment like the Army?"

It is interesting for me to engage them and address their misconceptions about military life. Nevertheless, their questions offer a good challenge to us all: "How do you live out your faith in the U.S. Army?"

Obviously, this is a "how" question. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it. Then we will have the foundation to address the practical implications of our faith.

Every one of us has thoughts and opinions about how we got here, why we are here, and where we are going. Our belief system, known as our worldview, is the paradigm or lens we use to interpret life. Have you ever thought about what you believe and how you came to believe it?

I remember a time early on in my marriage when my wife offered to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I'd had a rough day at work and a little comfort food would go a long way.
I felt like a little child as I was preparing myself for a nice PB & J with a cold glass of milk.

But then everything went wrong. My wife pulled out the toaster. Trying to remain calm and not give away my building disappointment, I asked -- or more likely accused -- "I thought you were making me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich." My wife smiled and said, "I am."

I should have stopped, sat down, and drank some water. Here my lovely wife was taking the time to make me a sandwich. I should be grateful for this loving act. But no, this was all wrong. I could not let it go and out it came, "If you are making a PB & J, then you don't need a toaster." What was I thinking?

When I finally sat down and received my first toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I was amazed. It was excellent. The way the peanut butter is warm and melts into the bread, it took comfort food to a completely new level. I think the best part of the story was how my wife exposed the roots my expectations.

She asked me two questions. "So, what do you think?"

With my mouth full, I responded, "Wow, this is really good."

The second question was, "And why were you giving me such grief about how I was making it?"
Before my mind truly engaged, before I realized what I was about to step in with no situational awareness, I answered, "My mom didn't do it that way."

I sat there with the deer in the headlights look in disbelief of what just came out of my mouth.
My wife - well, she raised her eyebrow, gave me a half smile, and nodded her head. My worldview for PB & J sandwiches was set by my mom, I had no idea.

Community - in relationship with others - is the best place for us to challenge our worldview. As we listen to one another, we find out that there are different perspectives to life. As we strive to truly understand fellow team members, we can see greater value in one another.

This growth process solidifies our convictions, helping us search out what we believe and why we believe it, creating a strong foundation and confidence in how we then live out our particular beliefs.