Get Your Act Straight

By | October 27, 2018

[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.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “Get Your Act Straight

  1. Willie Shrumburger

    Take all criticism to heart and evaluate it for what is useful and what is not. That way, even the most crass person who criticizes you might have something valuable to say.

    1. Tracey Brockman

      I don’t know about “taking it to heart” but we should all think over why we have been criticized and what we can gain from it. That way, we can always be making improvements.

  2. Max Foster

    I think most of us would agree that everyone can make improvements in their social and leadership abilities. Some more than others. That is why we often have people come up to us to say, “hey, get your act straight.” But I actually see less and less of that occurring because it might be taken as an offensive gesture. That works much to our disadvantage. Just look at college students today and some of their professors. Nuts.

    1. Roger Yellowmule

      Good points as usual, Max. I agree that too many young people are weak today because they are unwilling to accept criticism (poorly delivered or not) of anything they do.

  3. Kenny Foster

    I wish our politicians would get their act straight. Those like Maxine Waters, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi who advocate violence should be ashamed of themselves. The media also has a big part to play in encouraging irresponsibility on the part of our politicians and citizens.

  4. Ronny Fisher

    Funny how memories come flooding back from childhood when I read this article. Thanks.

  5. Janna Faulkner

    It was my mother who was the one telling me to ‘get your act straight.’ How many times did I hear this? I lost count even before I was in first grade. Did it help? Yes, in the long run it did. I hope so anyway.

  6. Darryl Sitterly

    Another worthwhile article on an early Saturday morning. Thank you, Gen. Satterfield.

  7. Anita

    Hey Billy (from below), I know what you mean. I too was told this by folks not too bright but smart enough to see that I was headed in the wrong direction. Just because they couldn’t verbalize it to me in a nice way didn’t mean that they had no point or that they were disrespectful.

  8. Billy Kenningston

    As an adult, the first time I heard this I was insulted. Then I realized that others were trying to tell me something, although perhaps they weren’t smart enough to verbalize it. I got the message and straightened myself out.

    1. Dennis Mathes

      I was slow realizing this too but I finally got the message.

  9. Army Captain

    Good article, well written and informative. I too have been told this.

    1. Lynn Pitts

      I too agree. We would like, I think, to have more articles like this one. A little humor goes a long way.

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