[October 27, 2018] One of my advantages that gained leadership fundamentals for me was to grow up in a small town in the southern states of the U.S. Everyone knew everyone. Also, everyone was not hesitant to tell you to get your act straight whenever they believed you needed their advice; which was always.
I lost track of how many times I was told to get my act straight; usually on the heels of something I’d done wrong. My maternal grandmother (“Bigmama”) was the quickest and, of course, all the grandkids respected her views and we tried to do nothing to get on her bad side. Alas, I was often the one in trouble.
Whether it was throwing rocks at a hornets’ nest (wow their sting hurts), sticking my arm into the rollers of an old wringer washing machine (required an x-ray), pushing my brother down the stairs (ouch), or pulling a wedgie on my cousin’s tighty-whities (that was fun!); I was consistently getting myself into predictable trouble. I needed advice and so got to hear ‘get your act straight.’
Well, maybe I did need some guidance (like all kids) but something more specific would have been nice. Bigmama gave me that extra care and advice. Why did she do this? Maybe it was that she was a good Christian woman or maybe she wanted peace and quiet … but I wanted to believe it was because she was a leader in an apron. Nothing got past her despite my best efforts.
Some call it “tough love,” while the U.S. military calls it discipline. Growing up in the South in the 1950s and 60s was where I met young Korean War veterans. I was introduced to the concept of discipline by war stories told by them. I admired these men and was in awe. Later I was to join the U.S. Army and credit goes to them and Bigmama.