Smart or Strong

There are no drill instructors in the Navy.  In the Navy, they call the people in charge of the recruits RDCs.  The RDCs had a saying and for some reason it stuck with me.  If you’re not smart you had better be strong.

In boot camp this meant that if you did not do what you were suppose to you had to do a lot of extra push ups, sit ups or what ever exercise suited the RDC’s fancy at that particular moment.  If you were smart enough you rarely had to do anything extra.  Still, there were a few that just could not seem to get things figured out.  So they got stronger.

This is a concept that is applicable for adults and life.  If an adult makes a bad decision, it may not make them stronger but dealing with consequences from stupid actions can make adults tougher.  At least emotionally.  Exposing ourselves to adversity – purposefully or otherwise – facilitates growth.

Charlie is the one that recently caused me to reflect on this old saying.  He’s not dumb for a toddler.  If you ask Elizabeth, “he’s so smart!”  Lets be honest though, even “smart” toddlers are not particularly bright people.  Which is why I think most toddlers are pretty tough.  If you’re not smart you have to be tough.

CharlieFor example, while on vacation, Charlie decided it would be fun to flip a Little Tikes chair upside down and attempt to balance on it.  Not smart.  He then – before dad or mom could come to the rescue – proceeded to face plant onto the concrete driveway.  He only cried momentarily, received the all powerful boo boo kiss and went about his business as if nothing had happened.

Another way of saying this is, “what doesn’t kill makes you stronger”.  Stupid decisions are a part of life.  Everyone makes them.  So, if you find yourself in a position where you’ve made a stupid decision, be like Charlie. Find a loved one to kiss the boo boo, go about your business and take solace knowing that you’re stronger than ever.


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