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Random quote: "A cigar numbs sorrow and fills the solitary hours with a million gracious images." (Georges Sand)
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Good Advice
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Kid Montana
Posted 9/4/2018 3:03 PM (#751092)
Subject: Good Advice



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Hey geeks, read on for a contest and rules, but first a story.

After about 4-5 years of service in the US Army, in I was at a cross-roads, having completed my service obligation but not sure I wanted to stay in the Army. Should I stick it out for a few more years then get out? Should I shoot for a full 20+ service and earn a pension? Should I get out soon and seek my fortune as a private citizen? Up to that point, I had enjoyed success in my career, 2 years as a platoon leader, 15 months of which were in Iraq, and some time as a staff officer which was much less challenging. I had solid experiences, which would make me competitive as a high-performer who excelled in stressful, demanding situations. But at the same time, I was still a young man, unsure if my success was due to luck, circumstance, or if it was actually earned, and unsure if I enjoyed being in the military at all, when considering the balance of good things and bad things about military service.

Much of this contemplation and deliberation took place during my second Iraq deployment. I was a staff officer, building slides, briefing senior officers, work which was tedious and repetitive. My boss and mentor, a senior officer who was a god-fearing man with an almost ministerial approach to mentor-ship, would sit with myself and some friends to smoke cigars and chat in the evenings. It was towards the end of that deployment he gave me some of the best advice in my life. He recognized my strengths and weaknesses, and encouraged me to stay in the Army for a few more years. He advised me to pursue excellence as a staff officer, to demonstrate my competence and earn the right to a company command. Once I'd done that, then I should make a decision on a career. The steps and high performance required to earn the privilege of command would polish my rough spots and give me confidence in my abilities. But he said it was worth trying because even if I failed, I would be better off than if I'd never set command as a goal.

A successful company command is the pinnacle of a junior officer's career, and a necessary step to advancement both in rank and responsibility. Long story short, I took his advice, and 3 years later, I earned the right to command. I deployed a team of 104 men and women to Afghanistan for 10 months, brought every one back and led for another 8 months back in the US. It was a fantastic experience and worth every moment of the toil necessary to get there. Ultimately I did decide to leave the Army, as my heart was not in it for a career, but my achievements prior to and while a commander launched me to a great career as a private citizen. It was great advice and I always think back on it with gratitude.

To participate in this contest, tell a story of the best piece of advice you ever received, whether your followed it or not. A picture of words from Facebook doesn't count, this isn't about pithy expressions and idioms, its about people who helped make a difference in your life with good sincere advice. The advice could be about anything, a recommendation on a purchase, a career move, a relationship, or relocation. The winner, who I will pick randomly whenever I wake up on Saturday, 08 Sept 18, will receive a 5er well worth their time. Take MY advice, you don't want to miss out on this 5er. The contest is open to Geeks in good standing who joined prior to today. If you live outside the US, you will be responsible for paying any/all associated taxes and duties.

"I've got one word for you, just one word: Plastics."

Edited by Kid Montana 9/4/2018 3:10 PM
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Silverstix
Posted 9/4/2018 3:30 PM (#751095 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: RE: Good Advice



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Daniel, first off thank you very much for your service.  You did something that I know I could never do, and for you and people like you I am thankful.

A little bit of backstory:

My father (Bill) is the last born of 4 boys.  The 3rd oldest (Larry) was hit and killed by a car 3 days after his 7th birthday, my father never got to meet him.  My father was born 3 years later. He would go on tell me that he always felt like he was the replacement for the son that his parents lost.  Anyway, my father's dad died when he was only 5 years old, so he grew up without a dad but with a very strong mother who raised him and his brothers in the 60's and 70's when it was a lot less acceptable to do so than it is today.

My father named me after his dad, Thomas. It is a name that I carry proudly and with respect, but this pride and respect was taught to me at an early age....

Now.....I grew up playing competitive travel ice hockey here in NY. I started skating at the age of 3, playing organized hockey at the age of 5, and by age 7 I was playing competitive travel. I was a goaltender. My father didn't know a thing about hockey, but he would get up at ungodly hours to drive me wherever I needed to be.  Thankfully he was not the type to try to coach me in the car rides to or from hockey.  If I wanted to talk after a game (good or bad), we would talk.  He did, however, let me hear it if I was not giving 100% of my effort 100% of the time. I have an excellent memory, and I remember that first year of travel we had a great team.  We were playing the worst team in the league in Long Beach, winning 8 or 9 to nothing, when I got caught being lazy and a goal got scored on me.  On the scoreboard, it meant nothing.  But to my dad it was an example of me being lazy, thinking I was hot stuff, and not giving 100%.  And he was right.  I will never forget the car ride home, I was happy because I was 7 and we just won another game.  He told me "Thomas, you were named after my father.  He died when I was only 5 years old and I didn't have him around to come and watch me play.  You wear a jersey with our last name on it.  And as long as you are wearing a jersey with our last name on it, you will represent that name the best that you possibly can or you won't be playing. The most important thing you have in your life is your name and your reputation."

Of course, there were momentary lapses, I'm human.  But I remember that car ride vividly, I remember him telling me that, and I have always felt responsible to represent him, his father, and our family the very best I can. 

When I was older, he took me and my brother to the cemetery on Father's Day, to his dad's grave, to show us where him and his mom and his brothers would go to spend Father's Day. That was something.  I'm glad that he is the kind of man that thought it was important enough to instill those values in me, and I like to think that he's glad I'm the type of son that took those values seriously. 

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Kid Montana
Posted 9/4/2018 4:11 PM (#751097 - in reply to #751095)
Subject: RE: Good Advice



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Silverstix - 9/4/2018 1:30 PM

Daniel, first off thank you very much for your service.  You did something that I know I could never do, and for you and people like you I am thankful.

A little bit of backstory:

My father (Bill) is the last born of 4 boys.  The 3rd oldest (Larry) was hit and killed by a car 3 days after his 7th birthday, my father never got to meet him.  My father was born 3 years later. He would go on tell me that he always felt like he was the replacement for the son that his parents lost.  Anyway, my father's dad died when he was only 5 years old, so he grew up without a dad but with a very strong mother who raised him and his brothers in the 60's and 70's when it was a lot less acceptable to do so than it is today.

My father named me after his dad, Thomas. It is a name that I carry proudly and with respect, but this pride and respect was taught to me at an early age....

Now.....I grew up playing competitive travel ice hockey here in NY. I started skating at the age of 3, playing organized hockey at the age of 5, and by age 7 I was playing competitive travel. I was a goaltender. My father didn't know a thing about hockey, but he would get up at ungodly hours to drive me wherever I needed to be.  Thankfully he was not the type to try to coach me in the car rides to or from hockey.  If I wanted to talk after a game (good or bad), we would talk.  He did, however, let me hear it if I was not giving 100% of my effort 100% of the time. I have an excellent memory, and I remember that first year of travel we had a great team.  We were playing the worst team in the league in Long Beach, winning 8 or 9 to nothing, when I got caught being lazy and a goal got scored on me.  On the scoreboard, it meant nothing.  But to my dad it was an example of me being lazy, thinking I was hot stuff, and not giving 100%.  And he was right.  I will never forget the car ride home, I was happy because I was 7 and we just won another game.  He told me "Thomas, you were named after my father.  He died when I was only 5 years old and I didn't have him around to come and watch me play.  You wear a jersey with our last name on it.  And as long as you are wearing a jersey with our last name on it, you will represent that name the best that you possibly can or you won't be playing. The most important thing you have in your life is your name and your reputation."

Of course, there were momentary lapses, I'm human.  But I remember that car ride vividly, I remember him telling me that, and I have always felt responsible to represent him, his father, and our family the very best I can. 

When I was older, he took me and my brother to the cemetery on Father's Day, to his dad's grave, to show us where him and his mom and his brothers would go to spend Father's Day. That was something.  I'm glad that he is the kind of man that thought it was important enough to instill those values in me, and I like to think that he's glad I'm the type of son that took those values seriously. 



Wow, poignant. Great story.
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Silverstix
Posted 9/4/2018 8:07 PM (#751106 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Thanks. Contest or not, that’s a story that I’m happy to tell to anyone who will listen!
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Chefjohn
Posted 9/4/2018 8:57 PM (#751109 - in reply to #751106)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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This contest is rather timely as the best advice I ever received was from my dad who just passed away. He was a chef and taught me the trade that would become my life’s passion. In a time when chefs/cooks were not the celebrities they are today he would tell me frequently to learn to cook. No matter what happens to your work life people are still always going to have to eat. Wise words from my friend, teacher, life counselor, butt kicker when
I needed it, my dad.
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Kid Montana
Posted 9/5/2018 8:56 AM (#751121 - in reply to #751109)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Chefjohn - 9/4/2018 6:57 PM

This contest is rather timely as the best advice I ever received was from my dad who just passed away. He was a chef and taught me the trade that would become my life’s passion. In a time when chefs/cooks were not the celebrities they are today he would tell me frequently to learn to cook. No matter what happens to your work life people are still always going to have to eat. Wise words from my friend, teacher, life counselor, butt kicker when
I needed it, my dad.


Thanks for sharing that John, my condolences for your loss.
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Chefjohn
Posted 9/5/2018 3:40 PM (#751142 - in reply to #751121)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Kid Montana - 9/5/2018 9:56 AM

Chefjohn - 9/4/2018 6:57 PM

This contest is rather timely as the best advice I ever received was from my dad who just passed away. He was a chef and taught me the trade that would become my life’s passion. In a time when chefs/cooks were not the celebrities they are today he would tell me frequently to learn to cook. No matter what happens to your work life people are still always going to have to eat. Wise words from my friend, teacher, life counselor, butt kicker when
I needed it, my dad.


Thanks for sharing that John, my condolences for your loss.


Thank you Daniel.
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shakinghorizons
Posted 9/5/2018 3:56 PM (#751143 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: RE: Good Advice



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Daniel, thank you for your service!

Excellent thread to start and contest or not, I look forward to reading the stories!
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Kid Montana
Posted 9/5/2018 4:10 PM (#751145 - in reply to #751143)
Subject: RE: Good Advice



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shakinghorizons - 9/5/2018 1:56 PM

Daniel, thank you for your service!

Excellent thread to start and contest or not, I look forward to reading the stories!


Post your own. No need to write an essay like I did...
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Cfickter
Posted 9/5/2018 6:28 PM (#751154 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Dan, as always thanks for your service and friendship
Will certainly reflect back and post something
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Murphy223
Posted 9/5/2018 7:03 PM (#751160 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Daniel,

Thank you from the bottom of my and my family's heart for your service. You do us Proud.

I'm not as eloquent at relaying a really good story and I've received some really good advice over the years but the very best advice I can share came from my Dad. He passed away years ago but I cherish these 2 pieces of advice to this day.

1. "Yes Dear" - He said, whether you agree or disagree, it's the key to a happy marriage
2. "Son, if you're eating Buffalo Wings....Wash your hands BEFORE you go to the bathroom and pee" I'm pretty sure he learned that one "first hand"... ouch


Thanks for the great post!



Edited by Murphy223 9/5/2018 7:03 PM
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Kid Montana
Posted 9/5/2018 7:31 PM (#751163 - in reply to #751160)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Murphy223 - 9/5/2018 5:03 PM

Daniel,

Thank you from the bottom of my and my family's heart for your service. You do us Proud.

I'm not as eloquent at relaying a really good story and I've received some really good advice over the years but the very best advice I can share came from my Dad. He passed away years ago but I cherish these 2 pieces of advice to this day.

1. "Yes Dear" - He said, whether you agree or disagree, it's the key to a happy marriage
2. "Son, if you're eating Buffalo Wings....Wash your hands BEFORE you go to the bathroom and pee" I'm pretty sure he learned that one "first hand"... ouch


Thanks for the great post!



You know, as a single guy I'll take #1 to the bank. As far as #2, the trick is to avoid thinking you're hands are clean enough from the napkin.
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appollo
Posted 9/5/2018 8:36 PM (#751170 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: RE: Good Advice



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Daniel thanks for the contest.Both my parents come from a small town with great values .There were two points that they always stressed to me .which I in turn stressed to my kids.
-it doesn't matter what your doing in life you do it to the best of your ability.This includes work,marriage etc.A hockey coach said to me one time:You can't always win but you can always compete"
-Whatever you commit to something , you stick with it till its done.There were some jobs I had as a kid that I didn't like but my parents would make me stick with it till it was over.

These things have always done right by me in life so far.
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Silverstix
Posted 9/6/2018 7:11 AM (#751294 - in reply to #751170)
Subject: RE: Good Advice



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appollo - 9/5/2018 9:36 PM Daniel thanks for the contest.Both my parents come from a small town with great values .There were two points that they always stressed to me .which I in turn stressed to my kids. -it doesn't matter what your doing in life you do it to the best of your ability.This includes work,marriage etc.A hockey coach said to me one time:You can't always win but you can always compete" -Whatever you commit to something , you stick with it till its done.There were some jobs I had as a kid that I didn't like but my parents would make me stick with it till it was over. These things have always done right by me in life so far.


My dad says the same. It's funny how many life lessons were taught to me through hockey, sounds like you had a couple that way too
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Cigary
Posted 9/6/2018 9:38 AM (#751296 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Great thread and will follow up with what everyone has said. We thank you for your personal sacrifice and while one tour is enough you chose to do a second one and the type of service you did was amazing. It shows character and deep integrity which dovetails into the advice I got from my Father who was a WWII Veteran and hero on a Destroyer ....USS HEERMANN whose exploits are mentioned in several books in the Pacific....Dad was given the distinction of shooting down a Kamikaze Pilot literally right before the war ended....it was said it was the last action or one of the last official acts of the war.

The advice he gave me when growing up was this....Words and Actions. In every life situation if I will examine these activities I will be able to come to terms with how to conduct my life and see in others if they match as well. Anybody can mouth what they want others to see in them but it's altogether different if their actions will match what they say. It doesn't take long to see if it does....relationships are built on trust and if their actions don't match their words then you can extricate yourself from a relationship that would prove harmful the longer you involve yourself. Growing up we share time and space with those we tend to be serious about and we can sometimes want to look over serious character flaws because are blind to our own self interests....we want what we want regardless of the situation...GF, BOSS, etc. Being able to flush out the bad traits in others means less time we are subjected to unhappiness in trying to change somebody....or job situations....life issues etc. It's the equivalent of having a magnifying glass for life to see the reality...having a barometer to measure things so that we can see clearly what is in front of us before stepping onto the land mines of life and spending too much time fixing the mistakes which can be for a lifetime.
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Chefjohn
Posted 9/6/2018 10:02 AM (#751297 - in reply to #751296)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Some great memories/stories here guys. As we’re up here for Dad’s funeral I’ve been reflecting on some of the pearls of wisdom he passed to me most of which I didn’t understand till I was older. When I was young I at time thought he’s dumb and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. When I got older it’s amazing how smart he suddenly became. The day I married my wife he gave me his secret to a happy marriage: “always let your wife have the last word”. I only wish he could have lasted as long as his influence did.
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quickme
Posted 9/6/2018 10:17 AM (#751299 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Amazing stories everyone. I look forward to every new post on this thread. @Chefjohn, i lost my dad over 8 years ago and I can understand what you are going through. I can tell you the emptiness you feel right now gets easier to deal with over the years. Your dad sounds like a very wise man and by the sounds of how you speak of him, he did a great job raising you. Year after year the pain will turn to happiness. Not because your dad has passed but you finally see what he meant when he was trying to explain or drill a point into your head. He made a ripple in your life and its up to you to continue that ripple he made in the world. My condolences to you and your family on your loss. Lean on your family and friends during this time.
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Chefjohn
Posted 9/6/2018 10:45 AM (#751301 - in reply to #751299)
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quickme - 9/6/2018 11:17 AM

Amazing stories everyone. I look forward to every new post on this thread. @Chefjohn, i lost my dad over 8 years ago and I can understand what you are going through. I can tell you the emptiness you feel right now gets easier to deal with over the years. Your dad sounds like a very wise man and by the sounds of how you speak of him, he did a great job raising you. Year after year the pain will turn to happiness. Not because your dad has passed but you finally see what he meant when he was trying to explain or drill a point into your head. He made a ripple in your life and its up to you to continue that ripple he made in the world. My condolences to you and your family on your loss. Lean on your family and friends during this time.


Thank you so much for your kind and wise words my friend.
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PETE314
Posted 9/6/2018 11:46 AM (#751302 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: RE: Good Advice



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So this is not exactly a story about "advice".  It is actually a story about one of the greatest compliments I have ever received and as such...what I learned from it. Sorry for the length...

I was pretty young. and had just graduated High School.  I had taken a position as a Camp Counselor.  This was an 8 week Camp.  At the end of the 8 weeks we would go on a 2 week trip...In this case...Canoeing in Canada.  The kids would arrive on Monday morning and go home on Friday afternoon.  I took on the responsibility of the Riflery Instructor and I was in charge of a cabin of about 12 kids aged 10 to 16 years old.  This story is about 2 kids...I will call them Mark and John.  (I am a Christian obviously...LOL)  Mark was a very mischievous kid.  A little ADD.  He would get in trouble often.  We all know those kids.  John was a little overweight, a victim of bullying, and unsure of himself.  We know these boys as well.  Outside of the kids in our cabin, we also headed up our own "tribe".  It is Summer Camp after all and so you will see some Indian themes...lol.  Mark was in my cabin.  John was in my tribe. 

Mark loved the rifle range.  It was one of the only things he wanted to do.  If he had his way...it was all he would do...LOL.  And so we used this to keep him on his path.  There wasn't a punishment greater than restricting him from the rifle range.  He failed his safety test on the first try...and so he was dejected...but he didn't bother to listen and or read the pamphlet I gave him.  So with a little encouragement, a kid who would never pick up a book..actually STUDIED.  Not only did he pass, he didn't miss a single question on his retake.  Once on the range, he found out quickly this was a no nonsense area.  That goes completely opposite of his character...lol.  I believe I had to kick him off the range just once for not listening to the range master(me).  But that was all it took.  I took time with him and all of the boys to teach shooting.  Breathing, aiming, etc.  Each day, I took the top shooters and had a special session.  I brought out a Remington Matchmaster.  Now for those not in the know, The Matchmaster basically looks like a 12 gauge with an extra long barrel.  But it is a .22 bore. Long and heavy and specifically made for target shooting.  It was a bolt action with open sights and contained a 5 shot magazine where the camp rifles were single shot.  We would have them do small competitions where they shot at small targets about the size of a quarter, barely visible at 25 yrds.  and then at the end, they would get to shoot the Matchmaster.  Placing 5 shots in the magazine and one shot in the barrel, I would put the used ammo boxes(hardly bigger than a matchbox) in a pyramid formation at the end of the range.  3 on the bottom, then 2 and then 1.  There task was to shoot a single box off at a time, as quickly as possible.  To do it well you would start with the top box and work your way down.  Only 6 shots available and only 6 boxes.  After starting off slowly and not making the sessions, Mark improved to be one of 2 kids to be able to accomplish the feat. 

John was just a good kid.  Willing to learn.  He had issues with the Obstacle courses and just about everything physical.  And at Summer Camp, most things are going to be physical.  The kids end up going to each activity as a tribe.  They are part of a team. eventually there is a Camp competition between tribes involving what they learned at each activity and how they perform at each activity.  Needless to say John was not looking forward to this contest.  He wasn't the super athlete.  And as kids his age are...he was teased about it.  So it was really difficult to see this kid out of his shell.  When the Competition was at hand and John was competing, I would almost "constantly" cheer and coach him through the entire event.  "I know you can do it, John."  "I know you are tired, but I believe in you."  "You've got this..." and hundreds more sayings and advice.  And he tried.  He NEVER Quit.  He wanted to.  But in his desire to not disappoint me, he pushed through everything...Was he successful in everything...no...But my god that kid pushed through more than any of the athletic kids.  Our tribe won the competition, in part to him never giving up.  

Skip to the end of the Summer and we are about to set off on our 2 week trip...John's mother specifically pulled me aside.  She told me a story.  In talking to John, she was asking him about the trip coming up.  As John was one of the weaker campers, he was teamed up with a counselor to tent with.  That turned out to be me.  So when asked who he was tenting with he mentioned me.  She asked him what I was like.  His thoughtful reply was..."He makes me feel...like I can do anything."  I was speechless.  How do you reply to that?  She felt compelled that I should know this.  And obviously I am very glad she did.  She thanked me and we went on to have a great trip.

Skip ahead another 10-15 years.  I run into Mark's parents.  Very happy to see me and I them.  They told me that Mark joined the Marines.  Not only that.  But he becomes a Marine Sniper with several tours in Afghanistan.  Not only that, but he becomes a Marine Sniper Instructor.  And they wanted to let me know, that to this day.......He unabashedly tells people that I taught him how to shoot.

So I go through all of that to say that I learned the value of encouragement and believing in yourself.  Two kids both a little lost in their own way.  Both found a positive direction because I tried to encourage them to do things they were scared to do and work at.  I didn't even know I was doing that...I just wanted them to succeed, and I tried whatever I could to help them do it.  Believing in yourself is one of the Strongest powers I know of.  We all struggle with it.  But I have seen it's power.  The person didn't change physically.  John was still not athletic, he wasn't any stronger.  and Mark was still ADD.  But I saw them do things they could not before.  John accomplished physical feats he had no idea he could.  and Mark was able to focus and do things he was never allowed to do.  I didn't get advice...But I learned A LOT  that year.

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ninfiction
Posted 9/6/2018 11:47 AM (#751303 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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For me it wasn't exactly advice that shaped my life as it was the actions of my step father.

Once I turned 18 a switch flipped and I turned into an a-hole know it all trouble maker. My step father and I didn't get along in the least. By 19 I was a father, by 22 I was running wild, getting arrested, college drop out, all around !@#%$ up.

The last time I went to jail my step father showed up at my court hearing. He knew the judge and because of that the weekend I spent in jail was all the judge gave me...along with a lecture. Riding home with my step dad he simply told me that I had really hurt my mom and he was very disappointed with me. He told me that if I wanted to move home to get my s**t together and go back to school he would support me 100%. He said that if I didn't want to do that, this would be the last time he would bail me out, I would be on my own.

That day changed my life...not over night, I still raised my share of hell, but I did move home, got back into school, got back to being a father for my daughter and ultimately turned me into a pretty successful adult. That day also changed my relationship with my step father, he had always been there for me when my real dad wasn't I just never saw it.

Today he's one of my best friends, my real dad is in my life but my step dad is my dad. He introduced me to cigars and he and I talk cigars, go to cigar events, smoke cigars, bomb cigars...I feel for you guys that have lost your fathers, I can't imagine not having my step dad around.

So, not really advice but my step dad being my dad more than anything has made me who I am and I try my best to be the same guy for my kids. Always loving them, but also telling them like it is.
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ninfiction
Posted 9/6/2018 11:53 AM (#751304 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Great story Pete
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PETE314
Posted 9/6/2018 12:56 PM (#751308 - in reply to #751304)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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ninfiction - 9/6/2018 3:53 PM Great story Pete
  Lots of great stories...

Life is a hell of a teacher...But we aren't always paying attention...and sometimes we just need another person to give us a different perspective (sometimes forcibly...LOL) that really and truly changes you. Thank God for those people in our lives.

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Kid Montana
Posted 9/6/2018 3:46 PM (#751316 - in reply to #751302)
Subject: RE: Good Advice



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Damn, Pete, what a great story.

PETE314 - 9/6/2018 9:46 AM

So this is not exactly a story about "advice".  It is actually a story about one of the greatest compliments I have ever received and as such...what I learned from it. Sorry for the length...

I was pretty young. and had just graduated High School.  I had taken a position as a Camp Counselor.  This was an 8 week Camp.  At the end of the 8 weeks we would go on a 2 week trip...In this case...Canoeing in Canada.  The kids would arrive on Monday morning and go home on Friday afternoon.  I took on the responsibility of the Riflery Instructor and I was in charge of a cabin of about 12 kids aged 10 to 16 years old.  This story is about 2 kids...I will call them Mark and John.  (I am a Christian obviously...LOL)  Mark was a very mischievous kid.  A little ADD.  He would get in trouble often.  We all know those kids.  John was a little overweight, a victim of bullying, and unsure of himself.  We know these boys as well.  Outside of the kids in our cabin, we also headed up our own "tribe".  It is Summer Camp after all and so you will see some Indian themes...lol.  Mark was in my cabin.  John was in my tribe. 

Mark loved the rifle range.  It was one of the only things he wanted to do.  If he had his way...it was all he would do...LOL.  And so we used this to keep him on his path.  There wasn't a punishment greater than restricting him from the rifle range.  He failed his safety test on the first try...and so he was dejected...but he didn't bother to listen and or read the pamphlet I gave him.  So with a little encouragement, a kid who would never pick up a book..actually STUDIED.  Not only did he pass, he didn't miss a single question on his retake.  Once on the range, he found out quickly this was a no nonsense area.  That goes completely opposite of his character...lol.  I believe I had to kick him off the range just once for not listening to the range master(me).  But that was all it took.  I took time with him and all of the boys to teach shooting.  Breathing, aiming, etc.  Each day, I took the top shooters and had a special session.  I brought out a Remington Matchmaster.  Now for those not in the know, The Matchmaster basically looks like a 12 gauge with an extra long barrel.  But it is a .22 bore. Long and heavy and specifically made for target shooting.  It was a bolt action with open sights and contained a 5 shot magazine where the camp rifles were single shot.  We would have them do small competitions where they shot at small targets about the size of a quarter, barely visible at 25 yrds.  and then at the end, they would get to shoot the Matchmaster.  Placing 5 shots in the magazine and one shot in the barrel, I would put the used ammo boxes(hardly bigger than a matchbox) in a pyramid formation at the end of the range.  3 on the bottom, then 2 and then 1.  There task was to shoot a single box off at a time, as quickly as possible.  To do it well you would start with the top box and work your way down.  Only 6 shots available and only 6 boxes.  After starting off slowly and not making the sessions, Mark improved to be one of 2 kids to be able to accomplish the feat. 

John was just a good kid.  Willing to learn.  He had issues with the Obstacle courses and just about everything physical.  And at Summer Camp, most things are going to be physical.  The kids end up going to each activity as a tribe.  They are part of a team. eventually there is a Camp competition between tribes involving what they learned at each activity and how they perform at each activity.  Needless to say John was not looking forward to this contest.  He wasn't the super athlete.  And as kids his age are...he was teased about it.  So it was really difficult to see this kid out of his shell.  When the Competition was at hand and John was competing, I would almost "constantly" cheer and coach him through the entire event.  "I know you can do it, John."  "I know you are tired, but I believe in you."  "You've got this..." and hundreds more sayings and advice.  And he tried.  He NEVER Quit.  He wanted to.  But in his desire to not disappoint me, he pushed through everything...Was he successful in everything...no...But my god that kid pushed through more than any of the athletic kids.  Our tribe won the competition, in part to him never giving up.  

Skip to the end of the Summer and we are about to set off on our 2 week trip...John's mother specifically pulled me aside.  She told me a story.  In talking to John, she was asking him about the trip coming up.  As John was one of the weaker campers, he was teamed up with a counselor to tent with.  That turned out to be me.  So when asked who he was tenting with he mentioned me.  She asked him what I was like.  His thoughtful reply was..."He makes me feel...like I can do anything."  I was speechless.  How do you reply to that?  She felt compelled that I should know this.  And obviously I am very glad she did.  She thanked me and we went on to have a great trip.

Skip ahead another 10-15 years.  I run into Mark's parents.  Very happy to see me and I them.  They told me that Mark joined the Marines.  Not only that.  But he becomes a Marine Sniper with several tours in Afghanistan.  Not only that, but he becomes a Marine Sniper Instructor.  And they wanted to let me know, that to this day.......He unabashedly tells people that I taught him how to shoot.

So I go through all of that to say that I learned the value of encouragement and believing in yourself.  Two kids both a little lost in their own way.  Both found a positive direction because I tried to encourage them to do things they were scared to do and work at.  I didn't even know I was doing that...I just wanted them to succeed, and I tried whatever I could to help them do it.  Believing in yourself is one of the Strongest powers I know of.  We all struggle with it.  But I have seen it's power.  The person didn't change physically.  John was still not athletic, he wasn't any stronger.  and Mark was still ADD.  But I saw them do things they could not before.  John accomplished physical feats he had no idea he could.  and Mark was able to focus and do things he was never allowed to do.  I didn't get advice...But I learned A LOT  that year.

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junglepete
Posted 9/6/2018 4:07 PM (#751317 - in reply to #751304)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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Great stories all around, thanks to everyone for sharing and thanks for the contest!

My best advice came from my parents. They were both from post war Europe and came to Canada in the 50's, met in Canada and married. Neither of them spoke english nor did they understand each other's language. My mother is German and my Father was Hungarian. They both learned english to communicate with each other and only spoke english to my siblings and me. Their advice was to work hard and earn everything you want and you will take care of it and appreciate it more. They believed hand outs were a crutch to solving your own problems. Nothing is free they always said. When my siblings and I were young they always pointed out that the TV ads were there only to sell you something and that you did not need it just because it was on TV. Ads were selling stuff to make money period, and all the happy people in the ads were just pretending actors. My parents bottom line in life, in so many words, was that it was your decisions, both good and bad, that determined where you are in life at any given point in time, not your conditions. My mother is still alive at 85. She cuts her own grass, does all her own gardening, stacks her own wood (has 5 years worth squirelled away), and only burns wood for heat in the long cold Canadian winters, and carries it all into the house on her own. She shovels her own snow, still drives and takes care of her own house on 5 acres of country property. She worked in a factory in Canada from the time she arrived, and raised 4 kids and everything else that goes with that, and when it came time near retirement, she literally laid bricks, poured concrete and fully participated in building her own house for retirement. She did this on weekendss for five years, including the 4 hour each way drive to the country property from the city. Lifes lessons were simple; must graduate high school, choose trade school or university if you want to live at home with rent to pay, or go out on your own and make your life as you see fit. All my siblings (3) and myself are self sufficient, own homes, have no debts, and were not given a sigle cent of help, there was none to give nor the need to ask. We all moved out of the house by 18 and were supporting ourselves during any further education if we chose that route. Although my parents were not affectionate, nor very compassionate to a child's emotional needs, they did have the work ethic to succeed down pat and that gave all of us the independence needed to be self sufficient, which in turn gave us the self esteem and confidence to resolve life's challenges in order to succeed. Granted, we were all emotional retards and needed to work through those issues to have good relationships later in life, but we were adults and made the decisions needed to make the required adjustments in order to have the relationships we desired.
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klamm143
Posted 9/6/2018 7:29 PM (#751323 - in reply to #751092)
Subject: Re: Good Advice



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As already stated many times.....Sorry for your loss, thank you for your service, and great stories by all.

My Father was (and Brother is) a very quite person(s)....they neither one, spoke a lot nor were big on conversation. They both led by their actions and their discipline (military personalities and philosophies), but when they did speak to you on life lesion issues it paid to take what they said seriously. They were both pretty big on the common sayings - "A place for everything and everything in it's place" as well as the Golden Rule "treating others like you want to be treated" - One very minor trivial saying they use to use a lot (that has stuck with me over the years - and proven true many times over) is "START OUT LIKE YOU CAN FINISH". Used mostly when meeting people and taking on new endeavors. Let people see you for who you are and be yourself - Do not try an buy, talk, maneuver or force your way into anything by being or appearing to be someone you are not. First impressions are important so be yourself (particularly in relationships) and "START OUT LIKE YOU CAN FINISH".
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