Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 26

By | September 29, 2023

[September 29, 2023]  Few things scared me in my years as a kid.  Maybe I was too busy doing kid “stuff,” running around with my friends, working at odd jobs around town, playing ball, fishing, swimming, playing in the woods, and just goofing off, to be scared.  I did have a fear of getting beat up by the High School boys when I was in grade school, and yes, I provoked them many times by talking to their girlfriends; besides, I thought the girls all were the most gorgeous women I’d ever seen and told them so.   All of them!  However, I was more likely to come to an injury by just doing stupid things, risky stunts, or simply not paying close enough attention to what I was doing, like putting a lit firecracker in a beer bottle and throwing it fast.  Not very brave, not wise either.  My brother Philip and I were guilty of doing this.

My first broken arm I broke attempting to jump over an upended foot locker that we stood up in a friend’s concrete driveway.  “Hey, watch this.”  Snap!  I ran home to tell my Mom that my arm hurt and didn’t work right.  She drove me to Dr. Shelly, our town doctor, who set my arm and made a plaster cast to prevent me from moving it so it would set right.  I’d broken my Humerus, the upper arm bone, dead center, clean break, left arm.  Good thing it was the left arm; I’m right-handed.  I was about nine years old at the time, and by that time, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: an “army man.”  That day, I’d been practicing my “army training,” fun but dangerous, and testing the limit of my courage.  Looking back, I’m lucky I didn’t accidentally get myself killed.

A couple of years later, I would again break my left arm, this time at an out-of-town baseball game, the Ulna bone just up from my wrist.  Crack!  I was taken to the county’s hospital for an X-ray, and I was scared when my Dad said this is how they “show the bones.”  Maybe I was just a little afraid; this time, it hurt bad, and I couldn’t imagine a machine that would expose your bones.  I cried a little, but I attempted as best I could to show folks I wasn’t just any stupid, frightened kid.  The doctor created a plaster cast, but thankfully, just up to the elbow.  More than anything, I was afraid I might not measure up enough to be in the Army.  Now, that was scary.  All the men I knew who had been in the Army were tough dudes, strong, big, and capable.  I saw myself as a weakling with fragile bones and puny muscles.  That is why I was always trying to prove myself worthy.

As a young kid, I accumulated several injuries and scars while having one thing in mind: being in the Army.  Today, you can still see the scars.  I’m told scars are cool.  My favorite scars are those on my right foot, where I jumped barefoot out of our parked car at an out-of-town park.  “Hey, watch this! …”  I said that to my family while still in the car but tacked on, “I’m an army guy.” I landed on a broken Coke bottle hidden in the grass.  This injury was seriously bloody, the bloodiest and probably the most painful of all childhood injuries.  I did some wailing and got 33 stitches for my troubles; the stitching scars where the doctor sewed me up are still visible.  When I joined the Army as an adult, these scars were listed as official “identifying marks” on my body if they ever had to do so.  I’m happy it never came to them needing to identify my body postmortem.

The funny thing about being a kid in those days was that all of us were busy little kids, even in the dark, from dawn to night.  Nothing much bothered us.  We drank water outside from a dirty garden hose when thirsty, ran barefoot along old dirt roads, rode our bikes without a helmet or shirt, went swimming in snake-infested ponds, dug for worms under rocks, jumped off the roof of our house, stepped in cow poop and dog do, and climbed trees without shoes or a shirt.  We hardly ever got sick.  We all had the required childhood diseases like Mumps, Chickenpox, Measles, and so on.  Plus, once, I had Hepatitis A, which sidelined me for a couple of months.  We were never afraid of disease; we considered them an inconvenience and a week off from school.  My friends were scared about contracting polio, but we were vaccinated.  We knew kids who had polio, and that was frightening a lot.  Looking back, Measles was my personal favorite because when a few young married women came over to visit my Mom, I ran around the house, half-naked and acting crazy with a very shocking red rash from head to toe.  “Douglas!  Get to your room right now, young man!”  I can still see the shock on the faces of those women.  I probably looked like the Red Devil himself.  My wife says I’ve always been a “ball buster.”

I did my best to be brave when hurting from an injury.  But I lacked the experience with hurting to be completely stoic.  Occasionally, I cried; other times, I would stand, grin, grit my teeth, and endure.  At those times, my Dad told me he was proud of me for not crying.  By age 13, I would no longer cry from pain, even snake bites.  When bitten, there is the natural shock of the snake bite itself and the fear of not knowing whether this was a poisonous viper.  Don’t run, they say, if bitten, yeah, right!  I ran like the wind all the way home.  And I was lucky; no poisonous snakes bit me.

Broken arms, disease, cuts, and snake bites made me see I had the same fears and experiences others had.  I would cry no more or scare my parents with my adventures but stay the course, doing what I wanted, taking risks, trying to do the right things, never lying (that was an unexpected adventure itself), and just being a normal outdoor kid that wanted desperately to be in the Army.  My struggle to become tough enough to be an “army man” haunted me often.  The thought never occurred to me to be anything else but an army soldier.  Soldiers were brave and heroic.  I was not sure I could be that way.  That is what I feared most, even more than a broken arm.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

35 thoughts on “Letters to My Granddaughter, No. 26

  1. Cow Blue

    My favorite letter. Keep your series going and thanks in advance. I’m waiting for your High School years. Now, that will be wonderful, Im sure.

  2. Eddie Gilliam

    Great job my friend. The scars we received as children or adults are a testimony to remind us mistakes we recover from. We all as kids pushed the envelope to the limits. I was told several times do get to close to the wood stove get burnt. I didn’t listen got my rear end burnt. I learned that lesson.. We learned from our mistakes and others people mistakes. We should never think we have arrived,
    don’t want to l learn anything new.

  3. Nick Lighthouse

    Gen. Satterfield you are nailing our attention with these letters to your granddaughter. Keep ’em coming.

  4. samuel

    wow, nice letter
    i will read more
    and will explore your books too

    1. Shawn C. Stolarz

      Samuel, welcome to the leadership forum that Gen. Satterfield provides for the purpose of feedback and more advanced learning. Feel free to explore the comments and add your ideas. Just be respectful. Thanks and welcome again. 👍

  5. Wendy Holmes

    Gen. Satterfield, like my comment on today’s article, I like them because they spark my oldest of memories when I was a child. Those were good times, but also times that small tragedies would occur. These are tests of our character and must be overcome, else we grow to be a bitter, sad, frustrated adult with mental problems. The biggest issue today is that schools and parents will not allow kids to tackle those very same problems and thus stunt their development into a good man or woman.

    1. JT Patterson

      Well said, Wendy. Of course you will be cancelled for writing “man or woman” like this is some how a dichotomy. he he he he he. BTW, I agree with you 1,000%.

    1. Rev. Michael Cain

      Yes, I pray every day that Gen. Satterfield remains well enough to give us these important letters.

  6. Melissa Jackson

    ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ Love this series of letters. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

  7. DocJeff

    “My struggle to become tough enough to be an “army man” haunted me often. The thought never occurred to me to be anything else but an army soldier. Soldiers were brave and heroic. I was not sure I could be that way. That is what I feared most, even more than a broken arm.” – Gen. Satterfield. Let us not overlook this comment. This is what I see as the driving heart of Gen. Satterfield from the time he was a kid until today. There is lightening in his inner self and this is it. 👍

  8. Martin Shiell

    Thanks to Gen. Satterfield, I now have a better appreciation of childhood. It should be full of challenges, disappointments, and yes even tragedy. It makes that kid stronger and better. And we all need to be better. Tell the truth, take on responsibility. do what is right and ignore the crazies for they will drag you down into the abyss of progressive ideologies and crush your soul.

    1. Ursala J. Simpson

      We said, Martin. I like it that you tell the truth about the ideological base of Progressive/Leftist/Marxist ideology that parades as compassion today. It is, indeed, soul crushing, especially for children.

      1. Dennis Mathes

        If you don’t understand this, readers, then read it again. Martin and Ursala are all over the extremist in our midst.

  9. Army Captain

    Hi everyone, I’m sure you remember me making plenty of comments, esp. on articles that discuss higher level strategy and military operations. But just for a moment, I’ll also say that I really do appreciate these “letters” because they hit home. They remind me of my childhood and how that influenced my participation in the US Army too. Thanks for reading my comments.

    1. Edward G.

      Sometimes reality is funny. But at the time, I’m not so sure that the kid (Gen. Satterfield) thought it was funny at all. As Gen. S. notes, he cried from the pain and fear of the experiences but looking back, he could see that these were common experiences and that is a bit funny. Keep them coming our way, Gen. S. and I’m looking forwrard to these being a book form at some point in the very near future.
      ———— Love this book ————
      “55 Rules for a Good Life”

  10. Pink Cloud

    Gen. Satterfield, I want to again thank you for this series of letters to your granddaughter. She may not know it yet, but she is one lucky girl to have you as her grandfather. This is the kind of thing all young boys and girls need to have as a forever gift to them. Letters that tell stories of their grandparents.

  11. Lady Hawk

    “Broken arms, disease, cuts, and snake bites made me see I had the same fears and experiences others had.” = Normal Kid

    1. Winston

      Hi Lady Hawk, not a normal kid according to progressive liberals controlling schools today. They would label such a kid as having ADD, TBI, PTSD, or some acronym and send them to a gender-affirming psychologist (also a hyper liberal) who would prescribe medication for that kid and recommend years of counseling. This is why we need to put a stop to the crazies running our schools, fire them and bar them for life for being around any kids under 18. And, have them wear a red “P” on their chest to show the shame for being a Progressive whacko.

        1. Greg Heyman

          You guys are the best. I read the article for education, I read the comments for entertainment. Ha Ha Ha
          Loving this website forever.

    1. Emmanuel T.

      Yeah, go figure. Oh, I almost forgot, read Gen. Satterfield’s “Our Longest Year in Iraq” if you want to see behind the scenes efforts by Construction Engineers did to help the fight.

    2. Bernie

      Jordan Peterson: Fear is a Powerful Motivator (see lecture on YouTube):
      Jordan Bernt Peterson is a Canadian media personality, retired clinical psychologist, and author. He began to receive widespread attention as a public intellectual in the late 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues, often described as conservative.
      Heavily influences Gen. Satterfield’s writing as Gen. S. so often notes.

      1. Tom Bushmaster

        Yes, and thanks Bernie for the recommendation. Gen. Satterfield is obviously influenced heavily by Dr. Jordan Peterson and has already said that it is a good idea if we listen to what Peterson has to say. I also can see the influence in his latest book “55 Rules for a Good Life.” Get a copy today. Leave a review on Amazon. Don’t wait.


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