The eagle-turkey continuum

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Zimmerman
  • 439th Airlift Wing
Did you happen to read CMSgt Thorpe's editorial in the June issue of the Patriot comparing thoroughbreds and pack mules?

If not, take a look. It's true.

If we take the time to care for our people and allow them to learn from their mistakes, they will develop into their full potential. Pack mules can and do develop into thoroughbreds.

Allow me to offer a second reference to the animal kingdom. Have you ever heard that old saying, "It's hard to soar with eagles when you work with turkeys?" Ever notice how no one ever thinks of himself as the turkey... or do they? Odd isn't it? It should be so clear. Either we are succeeding and life is good or... not so much. Sometimes our inner person can get pretty twisted up.

While in the animal kingdom no eagle has ever confused itself for a turkey, we human beings can get a bit confused. We confuse our identity with the status of our relationships, the result of our latest physical fitness test, our last performance evaluation, our possessions, or even our financial status. None of these are a true indicator of our value or status along the eagle-turkey continuum. The great author and scholar C. S. Lewis once wrote,"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal... It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors."

We all have value! The question is... How do I know how I am doing?

As a chaplain, I see, coach, and celebrate with people through all kinds of things. Here are four key areas to consider when you do your next self-assessment:

1) Assumptions - Deep down, what do you actually believe about life? Seek that out and guard it. Out of this flow all the issues of life.

2) Assertions - What are your words saying? What do you assert and communicate as true? Sometimes it doesn't line up with what you really believe. Peace and satisfaction stem from genuineness and authenticity. The things we say about ourselves and life too often come become true.

3) Actions - What do you actually do? What kind of seeds are you sowing? Do you need to get some weeds out of the garden of your life?

4) Attitudes - How you do things matters too! Are you bitter, angry, full of resentment, and contentious? Replace that with understanding, kindness, and compassionate correction.

So, check yourself. How are you doing? Remember... we are not merely what we do. What we do is profoundly shaped by who we are.