Good Choices and the Guts to Fulfill the Dream

June 24th, 2015 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

IMG_0592Last week I wrote about the honor I had of experiencing what it I like to leave a dangerous home and have the opportunity to start anew in a free country. This week I had the honor of sitting next to a new marine recruit on his way to boot camp. The similarities in choice, bravery and coping skills with the African man I met last week were uncanny.


Good Choices


The newcomer to the US was very clear about his reasons for coming to the States: it was life threatening in his country and anything that gave even a hint of opportunity for him, his wife and boys was better than being killed. Even though he was under no illusions regarding how tough the next years might be, he was ready to risk it for the sake of his family.


The new recruit has just finished high school and is aware of his abilities and needs. He wants to start a possible career with the marines, specifically with the military police. He hopes that after a 20-year career, he can then start a second career as a police officer, perhaps in Northern Minnesota. Because his high school time was successful but not stellar, the young man thought that this would be the best choice for him


Both these men’s choices were clearly thought out. They had a plan and they were following through with that plan. Neither of them were dreamers. They saw the situation, make a plan and then took the necessary action. Thus, they were on their way! But it took a lot of guts to move in that direction.





Both men showed an amazing amount of bravery in their choices and in the actions to follow through with their plans.


The asylum seeker and his family left their home country, went first to Nairobi and then to Dar es Salaam looking for asylum and hoping to make it to a safe environment, a place where the children might have a chance to grow up and have a successful life. The adults knew it would be very hard, full of unknowns and major changes, but the thought of staying was too dangerous for them. So, they gathered all their courage and moved on.


This young recruit has never really been away from his family and the leave-taking has been hard for him. He knows that boot camp will be very tough, and that his future is uncertain. But he also sees the opportunities afforded him by entering the military. The USA is full of such honorable and earnest young people and I was truly amazed at the depth of his certitude that, despite the very scary possibilities, he is ready to take the chance and try something completely different from what he has experienced thus far. This man is also sure that there will be no easy route to a successful military career and he is ready and willing to put in all the hard work expected of him.



Coping Skills


Whether the young African father and the recruit will be able to cope with their future environments, only time will tell. But both showed a willingness to change and learn. Those kinds of skills are key to success in a new environment: willingness to change, and willingness to learn. We human beings have all needed these two abilities, topped with bravery and the ability to make wise choices to continue towards better futures. May it be so for us all, refugees, recruits, and the rest of us, today!


Leave a Reply