Working Well With Others

Blog 2513 – 09.12.2022

Working Well With Others

I heard some panelists agreeing a few days ago that one of the biggest if not the biggest problem in the world today is so many under employed unhappy, and lonely young men, ripe to be radicalized by conspiracy theories, young men depressed and desperately seeking some kind of purpose or meaning in life, angry at everyone and everything, feeling forgotten, left behind, and wanting revenge. The panel also agreed that the hardest working people in this country are immigrants and that they therefore are an easy target for those who never learned to work well with others.

When I was a young man, fifty plus years ago. Young men with no college plans, and no real prospects were encouraged to spend a few years in the military to learn a trade, stay out of trouble, and get through those dangerous years in a supervised environment. The panelist above were all men and also agreed that the “work from home” program was a very bad idea for these loner young men for they desperately need supervision and socialization. All these mass shooting have one common denominator, a single young unhappy man trying to settle some score or make a name for himself.

I used to wonder during and even long after two years in high school Army ROTC and three years active duty in the regular Army why all those hours and hours of close order drill (marching for you civilians.) It dawned on me just recently why. My wife loves to walk in the park and I have been taking her each morning for several months and we walk around and around for anywhere from thirty minutes to an hours depending on how she is feeling. I have long complained that she walks too fast and that it was hard to keep up with her, but I discovered the real problem a couple of morning ago when I notice we we walking together quite well. I looked down at our feet and we were in step. What a eureka moment for me. My sergeants in both ROTC and the regular Army taught us to start marching all together left foot first as they sang out, “ Left, left, left, right, left.” It is called calling cadence and there are many unique variations like, “Hut, Hut, two, three, four” and my favorite, “You had a good home and you left, you left, you left, you left, right, left.” Since some cadence calls are not appropriate for mixed company I will leave you to just imagine those. When we got out of step they taught us a simple maneuver to get back in step, just skip once and your left foot is back hitting the ground at them same time as the others. Here is a trivia fact for you, while marching across bridges, soldiers are commanded to walk out of step to prevent damaging the bridge by all those feet pounding together at the same time.

It hit me like a light bulb turning on that all that marching was to teach us to work together instead of doing our own thing. I have long admired men and women who really know how to dance well together. My wife and I have talked about taking lessons for years. I think we took our first real dance lesson just getting in step. I don’t know about old dogs but older people can still learn a few new tricks.

Whether it is the military, organized sports, private sector sponsored group activities, or government work programs like the nineteen thirties Civilian Conservation Corps, CCC Camps, the Peace Corp, or something else, young people especially young men need structure and supervision, where they can learn to work together to accomplish tasks that no one person can complete alone.

“Whatsoever my hands find to do this day, I shall do with my whole heart, finding meaning and purpose in the most menial and repetitive of tasks.” Even young men’s minds, feet, and hands can accomplish great things working in concert, like saving democracy, even saving the planet. Those kinds of heroes even get the girls, not doing which seems to be the root cause creating so many unhappy young men, a recipe for so much destructive behavior.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

Man Of Constant Sorrows

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