by Bob Doman
The commencement speech by Admiral William H. McRaven is outstanding, and I believe it has very special significant for parents who are really trying to take charge of their own lives and assume the responsibility for their children’s lives and futures as well.
For all of our NACD families, I would request that you watch this video every month and get a new dose of the vision.
I would hope that for our NACD families the message, “If you want to change the world, start each day with a task completed and find someone to help you through life,” has some special meaning. As all of our families know, there are many specific tasks to be completed each day, and establishing the habit of starting your day with simply making your bed starts a pattern that you will hopefully then continue throughout your day. We call this a habit, a good habit of accomplishment, as opposed to the habit of ignoring things that you really know you should do. This really can establish a pattern for our days and our lives. But Admiral McRaven’s message is more than what you can do for you or even your children; it’s about changing the world.
If anyone had asked me what my goal was over the past 50 years, it was to change the world. The Admiral commented that the average person meets 10,000 people in their lives. Well, I’ve worked with way more than 30,000 families and helped them to various degrees help their children. My hope has been that every family who succeeds with their child is going to influence many other families through their example. We can’t change lives without changing the perspective of what can be. You have to start with the vision. I have hope that our families see NACD as the entity to help them with their children’s lives, helping to build the foundation that will change and improve their lives. My faith in changing the world lies in the lives of the children who we have helped, who in turn have helped open the eyes of other parents as to what can be. The vision of what can be is the power of hope.
Families assuming the responsibility for their children’s futures are fighting the tide of traditional perceptions, expectations, and procedures. It’s not easy maintaining the focus, bucking the system, and doing the day-to-day work to achieve the outcomes that we want. But each family assuming this responsibility and changing their child and helping them realize a better outcome and life is causing a little tremor. If we produce enough tremors, we can produce an earthquake of optimism, create a tsunami, and turn the tide. We can change the world. I have seen it; bit-by-bit we are changing perceptions of what can be and are seeing expectations rise and parents assuming more control, and even professionals changing their perceptions of what can be.
As you parents dedicate yourselves to helping your children, understand that you are not just doing what you can to help your child, you are producing tremors that are ultimately going to change many lives.
I would encourage you to listen to the Admiral’s ten lessons and change your lives, your children’s lives and help change the world.
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”