Blog from Keith Simpson

By Keith Simpson
 

JUST DO IT

I was struggling to come up with a name for this blog when Jackie reminded me of an old sports apparel company’s slogan that was “Just Do It”. A perfect title. Jackie comes through again. Just do it!

To me, this slogan means just do the right thing all the time. I know that it’s easier said than done, but I know I strive to do just that. It means to me, do it regardless who or if anyone is looking. Remember God is watching. In the military, we call it integrity. It’s one of the leadership values the Army expects its leaders to have. In the military, integrity is one of the most important values leaders and soldiers need to have and use always. We depend on every soldier and leader to just do the right thing, all the time. My life depended on the integrity of the soldiers who worked on the aircraft I flew. I trusted their integrity while maintaining the aircraft. All the other pilots, in turn, trusted that I would have integrity that everything that I signed off as fixed was actually fixed and I had properly tested or flown the aircraft. We all depended on each other. It was a life or death trust and we took it seriously.

There is one instance that comes to mind. I was stationed at FT Bragg, NC. I and a couple of my crew chiefs were working particularly late that evening. 12 hour work days were the norm in Army Aviation, not an exception. The two crew chiefs were working on different aircraft, trying to get them fixed so I could test fly them and have them ready for an early mission the next day. We were all going on our 13th or 14th hour of work and the guys were getting tired, as expected. One young Sergeant came over to me with this look of fear in his eyes.  He said, “Sir I screwed up big time”. I was expecting some catastrophic news about the aircraft he was working on. He proceeded to explain to me how he accidentally dropped a washer and a nut down between the aft fuel cell (rear gas tank) and the aircraft frame and he couldn’t find them. By the look on his face, he thought I would be upset and start raising Cain. He looked so dejected and he actually told me he was sorry he had let me down because that aircraft wouldn’t be flyable the following morning. We had to find that hardware because the aircraft would be grounded until we did. Instead of getting mad, I told him instead how proud I was that he did the right thing and brought it to my attention. INTEGRITY. That young man did the right thing without hesitation. No one would have known had he decided to keep it a secret. (Until it eventually punctured the fuel cell).

The next morning that soldier stood in front of everyone and received a Commanders Coin and a 4-day pass. I explained to the formation what he had done and how he used integrity even when no one was looking. He had also shown courage in the face of adversity. Now he had that proud look instead of the scared look. Often and usually, the right thing is not the easy thing. Moral courage and integrity.

We never know who or if anyone is watching us. Other people may look up to you without you even knowing. We all have two choices to make when a difficult situation arises; do the right thing or not. I was reminded of this again this past Sunday that someone is always watching. What you do may have a lasting effect on someone, especially children and teens. They look up to us whether we know it or not. Just one action could leave an indelible mark on someone.

Here’s my example of someone making an impression on me. In the early 70’s, while I was a young teenager, my family and I were watching tv. There was one commercial (before DVRs were ever dreamed about), that was about littering. There was an old, Native American Indian standing on the side of the road with a big tear running down his face. There were litter and trash all over. The message was not to litter and that has stayed with me my entire life. I can still close my eyes and see that man with the big tear running down his face.

As a Christian, we have a moral obligation to God, ourselves and others to “Just do it”. We can show the world, one person at a time, what right looks like.

As usual, I’ll leave you with some scripture. God Bless you all.

Psalm 7:8,10. Let the Lord judge the people. Judge me, oh Lord according to my righteousness and according to my integrity. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.
 
Proverbs 10:9.Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes the crooked paths will be found out.
 
I Chronicles 29:17.I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent.

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