It is never easy to develop a personality that is uniquely one’s own. Their influence was written on the blank sheet that was my innocence and determined how I would act like a child person. This was the first personality that I ever knew about.
My father was an upstanding citizen who believed that the greatness of a nation lay not within its political leaders, but rather within the people who lived and breathed amongst each other. He always told my siblings and I that political leaders are only as good as the citizens of the land for they take their cues from the needs and demands of the various sectors of society. It was not enough that one was simply in America of granted citizenship.
No, in his book, one had to earn the privilege to call yourself an American by being a positive, constructive, and participating member of society. Thus, I learned that living in this country is more of a privilege than a right. Through my close relationship with my father, I slowly developed what would become my core values which later on became the basis of my personal ground rules and ethics.
My father was a fair and just man. He always tried to do his best by others and taught me the importance of respecting the rights of others. I learned that human rights are located at an intersection where each person must be able to give way and respect each other’s opinions or outlooks because if I did not do that, I could not expect others to respect my own opinions and rights as a person.
Although our lessons were not held in the formality of a classroom, or learned through the pages of a book, I learned most of my life lessons from him. Watching him as he slaved away at his menial job so that he could support his family in a decent manner taught me about being selfless, resourceful, and strong in the face of adversity. He was not a business executive, he did not drive a fancy car, he barely had time to rest between the jobs he held, but he was proud of himself because he did not rely on anyone else to help him support his family.
Eventually, I had to go to school and become part of the training ground for the real world. As I had come from a closely knit family where everyone had an amicable relationship,, even when they disagreed on things, being thrown into the companionship of strangers on a daily basis proved to be a real task for me. My teachers encouraged free speech and analytical thinking so that students could participate in lively discussions and debates in class. I somehow managed to make my stand on certain issues understood without arguing with others. I learned to defend my stance against the opposition when it came to beliefs and principles that I believed in.
I began reading books and listening to other people outside of my family circle who also influenced my values and development as an individual. Friends taught me the value of listening to the views of other people. I learned about how my personal beliefs could and should be sacrificed in the name of peace and understanding. Because of my friends, I learned the importance of finding a middle ground upon which to agree upon in order to preserve friendships and arrive at amicable decisions that can meet the beliefs of the many people around us.
Thanks to the books I read growing up, titles such as The Captain From Castille, Lincoln’s Dreams, Screwtape Letters, and others, offered me a chance to peek into the beliefs of others more learned than I am and use that information to tweak my own beliefs and principles in life in order to develop a more social and likable personality that could appeal to my age group.
Without realizing it, I had developed my own personality, ground rules, and beliefs in life by the time I was ready to attend college. By leaving home to join the real world, I had finally come to that point in my life where I now needed to develop a set of ethics in order to give myself boundaries during this unsupervised part of my life. I had to review the way I lived my life, what my beliefs were, what ground rules I had set for myself by this point, and adjust everything accordingly.
After all, I was now at the most important level of personality development. That which would eventually help me land a job upon graduation. Without a socially acceptable sense of ethics, it would be difficult to function in both a social and workplace manner. My professors instilled in me the importance of having as excellent a work ethic as possible in order to properly accomplish the tasks assigned to me.
These college projects showed me how strong the temptation to step on others’ toes in order to get ahead is something which will be a constant existence in my life from that point on. Therefore, the strength of my personal values, the ground rules I set for myself, and everything else that I learned throughout my life needed to be deeply ingrained and understood within me in order to develop an unshakable work ethic.
I came to my final stop on this journey of personality development and self discovery when I came of age and was finally given a chance to fulfill a childhood dream. That of joining a branch of the U.S. military. With a tremendous sense of pride, honor, and accomplishment, I joined the U.S. Air Force. This was the day in my life when my parents, my father in particular, beamed with pride at the person whom I had finally become.
By becoming an active part of the U.S. Air Force, I would now have a chance to utilize everything that I had learned while growing up. I now had a chance to discover and understand how far I had come in developing my personality in terms of real world existence.
Upon becoming a part of this military world, I realized and learned that there were only a few basic things in life that I needed to understand and participate in so that I could have a well rounded personality. Everything that I learned in the past, all the beliefs I had come to rely on as truth, the ground rules I had set for myself in order to lead a peaceful life, the work ethic that I had prevailed in my professional life until that point, these were all merely foundations for the real personality development that I was to achieve as a member of the U.S. Air Force.
Indeed, upon joining the service, I found myself junking most the things I had learned throughout life which, I felt, made me a functioning and well rounded individual. It was not easy for to unlearn a lifetime of experience and influence in order to become the person that the U.S. Air Force needed me to be if I were to be a functioning member of the team. It is never easy to unlearn things and yet unlearn I did in order to fully embrace the core values of the U.S. Air Force.
Words like integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do, these were not just a bunch of words that stood for the minimum standards of an enlisted person’s reason for being in service. No, these core values were our mission in life. The totality of our personality for as long as we remained in active service.
Just as I had learned from my father during my youth, integrity was the cornerstone of my military training. He had taught me to be a fair and just man in life, to always do what is right for others even without being asked to do so. Life outside of the uniform taught me that all my beliefs in life were flexible, I had to unlearn that while in active service. Because in the military, none of my beliefs and ethics could be compromised for any reason for I possessed an integrity within that would always push me to do what was best for many.
One who is in the service of the U.S. military does not have room for personal agenda while in service. Service before self meant to an air force soldier that service to others comes before self interests. Thus I found myself making personal sacrifices on an almost daily basis. I had to adjust my sense of middle ground among people. At this point in my life, my country should always come first, without question or doubt and regardless of personal sacrifice.
The only aspect of my personality that, to me, did not need much of adjusting in order to adhere to the military standards were my sense of ethics for it strongly supported the military belief in excellence. Competence and excellence on the job is a moral responsibility that all bore because of our main goal, that of ensuring our nation’s security and the lives of those we serve.
I eventually retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Criminal Investigator. As a Personnel Security Specialist, I find that I continue to use the core values and personality lessons that I have learned in the past from my civilian and military lives.
One might say that I still work for the U.S. military as a Personnel Security Specialist.. Only this time, I do it by initiating, monitoring, and submitting all the top-secret and secret clearance packages for all Air Force members in Hawaii. Since I am responsible for the proper storing and marking of these highly classified documents, it is my duty and responsibility to secure these documents from the prying eyes of those who may have a vested self interest in seeing the information contained within those pages.
I still find myself adhering to the military core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do. It is true that a serviceman can be taken out of military service, but you cannot take service to the military out of the man. This is why I eventually found myself with a career somewhat related to protection services which allow me to continue to live and serve others within the parameters set by the core values of the U.S. Air Force.