Take stock in your life by remembering mentors, role models

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Vincent Lostetter
  • 71st Operations Support Squadron commander
"All I ever really needed to know I learned in kindergarten."

Robert Fulgham's words are so true. After my recent attendance at this Broadway smash-hit performance at Enid's very own Gaslight Theater, I have taken some off-duty time to reflect on my youth, the important life-lessons I learned and the significance of having a role model and mentor.

So what did I learn in kindergarten? Borrowing the words from Fulgham: 
  • Share everything 
  • Play fair 
  • Don't hit people 
  • Put things back where you found them 
  • Clean up your own mess 
  • Don't take things that aren't yours 
  • Say sorry when you hurt somebody 
  • Wash your hands before you eat 
  • Flush 
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you 
  • Live a balanced life 
We all do these things, but maybe not all the time or to the best of our God given abilities. I vividly remember some of the greatest mentors in my life, all the way back to grade school.

My mom's firm guidance, dad's firm belt and Sister Mary Alice's and Mr. Leon McCullough's "board of education" demonstrated right from wrong...sometimes on my back-side. Neither of these great early teachers in my life ever administered discipline that was not earned, but they taught me accountability and belief in myself to make choices based on moral convictions and spiritual strength.

Play like a child. Not for fame or fortune, but for the joy that it brings to the heart and laughter shared with all around.

To this day I still love sports, and thankfully at 41 years young I am not totally on the sideline. To this day, sports are my diversion tactic. They take me away from the many stresses of daily life, give me a release for the bricks we all have piled high in our lives, and maybe even make me believe I am the super athlete we all know is just a dream.

Sometimes it takes a role model or hero not to show us the path, but to give us the belief, knowledge and strength to travel the path of our choosing. Each of us has these mentors throughout our life.
For me, my parents were my cornerstone. Flushing was not one of my repeated lessons, but putting the lid down was. They started what mentors throughout my life have helped shape into the chapters of my life story.

I have re-learned some lessons with my own children.

The summer of 2007 brought an unusually amount of rain to Enid. My kids and I enjoyed catching and playing with all the baby frogs that seemed to invade the area. My middle son became very attached to Froggy and gave him what we all need, love and compassion.

One day while taking Froggy for a ride in his jeep, he jumped from the safety of my son's loving hand and was crushed by the wheel of the vehicle. The devastation and heartfelt sorrow I saw deep in my son's eyes left me helpless, for this is a lesson learned we can never save our loved ones from.

Live a balanced life. Sometimes we are too busy being adults that we forget the lessons that began as children. Learn some...think some...work some...play some, but love everyday.