The Military Teaches you to Adopt Responsibility

By | February 26, 2020

[February 26, 2020]  My maternal grandmother, Bigmama, used to shake her finger at my cousins and me and say, “get your act straight.”  I’m sure many of us have had similar experiences with grandparents and had that wagging finger pointed our way just after we did something wrong.  She was saying that that to be someone good in life, that we had to adopt responsibility.

Like my grandmother, the Military also teaches ‘why’ it is essential to adopt responsibility.  The first thing the Military does is show us what we are leaving out if we don’t choose responsibility.  We are taught that failure to adopt responsibility is to dramatically fail as a soldier, sailor, marine, or airman and to let down all our buddies.

Those of us who join the Military, often do so to become a part of something greater than ourselves.  We want to credibility, the safety, the relief, and the belonging that is gained by being a part of it.  Yet the Military takes this one step further.  We are told that we have something to offer, something important.  Each of us has the capacity to set the world straight.  That is what we ‘see’ when we belong to the Military, and we like it.

This belonging to the Military is what sustains us over the long haul.  Even the most rebellious member of the military armed forces can tell you so.  Whenever I meet older veterans, oddly enough, those who hated their service time they spoke highly of their satisfaction in that belonging.  And not just the camaraderie that we can expect, but they were also of their knowledge that they were content, often for the first time in their lives.  Only after leaving the service did they realize this and regretted getting out and back into the civilian world.

Words of encouragement do come from our grandmothers and other relatives, but when those same words come from the Military, we find something different.  Young men, mainly but also young women, are starved for it.  They have not been consistently taught that they have to develop themselves.  Dr. Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto says that men who fail to socially develop become a Peter Pan-like embodiment (a figure that represents never-ending childhood).1

The Military also teaches us to be powerful.  Powerful, not in the brutal sense that we can forcefully control our wants and desires and impose them on others; that is corruption.   Power is competence.  And that is what the military leadership at all levels desires, a competent service member who can get the job done and done with little guidance and direction.


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

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

19 thoughts on “The Military Teaches you to Adopt Responsibility

  1. Wendy Holmes

    “Power is competence.” The best quote I’ve read in a while.

    1. Darwin Lippe

      I’m glad that our military teaches responsibility. In the past, that was the purview of our parents. Now, it’s college but they have abdicated that job. Only the military teaches it properly.

  2. Randy Goodman

    Another spot-on article. Thank you, Gen Satterfield. This is why I keep coming back to your website.

  3. Janna Faulkner

    Hi guys, did you watch the debates last night (US Democratic Presidential race)? Very informative. Very enlightening that none of these folks should be allowed even close to any government office with any responsibility. Any of them will destroy the US.

    1. Kenny Foster

      Right on! Sick debate. How sad that so many in the USA with so much invested in its future (by working hard, paying taxes, doing what’s right) are being replaced by those with nothing to give but only take.

    2. Crazy Dude

      Janna, yes, I too watch it and was very disappointed. But I watched it differently, I didn’t have the sound on. Gave me an opportunity to ‘see’ what they looked like and their expressions. My impression – anger and hate. Wow, and we expect any of them to lead us out of any problem? How could they? They can’t even give us their main thoughts without yelling and screeming. Crazy.

      1. Mikka Solarno

        What a topsy turvey debate. Nuts going about their business. Even the media folks were in the tank for them and mostly gave softball questions. One question was the most stupid came at the end. “What is your personal motto?” Really?

    3. Dead Pool Guy

      I learned that no of these people deserve my vote. And none of them will get it.

  4. Valkerie

    General Satterfield, well done with today’s article. I like the fact that our military teaches ‘responsibility’ and those things that make us BETTER people. Without it, I fear our country would be much worse off. Just look at the US presidential debates to see how creepy socialism has worked its way into our way of life and accepted by so many.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Hey Valkerie, did you watch the Democrat debates last night? Just a bunch of screeching and yelling. Anger, hate, spewing of word salads with an occasional coherent word. Who won the debate is not a question that should even be asked because America lost.

      1. Albert Ayer

        Yeah, I watched it too. Bernie Sanders is so angry! What’s up with him anyway? Everybody is a liar and the worst human on earth and only he can save the world. Why does he keep wagging his finger at us, lecturing us about getting in line. Typical socialist that is inclined toward authoritarianism.

  5. Nancy B

    The idea that the military somehow satisfies our need to belong is a strong one. Hard to argue that fact. No wonder so many young folks are drawn to nefarious groups like extreme religious orgs, etc. ?

  6. Eric Coda

    You will certainly NOT learn about responsibility in college. Nuff said.

    1. Willie Shrumburger

      You got that comment in very quickly and you are, of course, spot on with it. We all know that today’s universities are telling their students that adopting responsibility is racists, sexist, homophobic, and a white-man’s law.

      1. Harry Donner

        Colleges and universities are bereft of anything that comes close to responsibility. They just teach the ideology of neo-Marxist theory that America = bad, autocracy = good. All else is an accident and should be shorn up with money and our personal support.

      2. Bill Sanders, Jr.

        Good point Willie, and yes I too like the comment from Eric. But colleges are more. They also teach the unformed minds of our young that our society must be remade into something that is more FAIR. But, of course, fair to them has no fixed meaning and thus becomes nebulous concept that serves no purpose other than to make us agree with them.

    2. Doug Smith

      On target comment, Eric. Loving your analysis, short and concise. Thanks.

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