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It really is about you, me, us

  • Published
  • By Col. George Farfour
  • 90th Missile Wing vice commander
In the Air Force, we have many programs and resources designed to help our Airmen and their families. Though in one sense, many of us tend to view all programs the same way; however, the recent focus on resiliency is more than a program it is a mindset and an attitude.

Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson, 90th Missile Wing command chief, wrote about the four pillars of resiliency earlier this summer. You might want to dig that one up and reread it from time to time.

The individual is our first focus when it comes to resiliency. And, since accomplishing the mission first begins with the individual, let's look at that aspect. You are and forever will remain the single most important resource the Air Force and this nation have in dealing with conflicts across the spectrum of conflict.

Have you ever wondered why we have all these programs? Ever wonder why we as an Air Force constantly remind you about them? It's simple really. The biggest impediment to such programs is our attitude -- yours and mine.

Most of us in the military are "Type A" people -- we're mission-focused, intense, self-sufficient, competitive and high achievers -- in short, we aren't programmed to ask for help.

From day one, military training teaches us to be self-sufficient, resourceful and above all to sacrifice. The very traits we value as military members don't always sit well with us when the Air Force offers help. We often brush it off by saying something like, "help someone who needs it." Beyond that, we often times, we don't even know we even need help in the first place.

We often forget self sufficiency isn't meant at the expense of ourselves. We believe self sacrifice is an admirable trait, but sacrificing ourselves for no gain is folly.

I had to learn those things the hard way. Holly and I have an Autistic 4-year-old daughter. When she was diagnosed, my Type A personality took over. I didn't need anyone's help. I didn't want to be a "burden" on anyone. Within a week, I quickly learned I was wrong. It was evident my family and I were not equipped to deal with this by ourselves. It took a couple days for me to accept that reality. Not asking for help would also not have been in the best interest of our daughter, and as I learned later, for us either.

It turned out asking for help wasn't the toughest part; it was getting comfortable with receiving help. Over time as I accepted getting help, another adversary evolved. That adversary was the realization that after we received help and got comfortable with it, there weren't easy answers. Further, the list of questions grew and the answers didn't. I wasn't comfortable with not having answers to my questions, nor was I happy with the fact that answers may never come.
Asking for help doesn't always mean immediate answers. More often it means we will get better tools to deal with our reality.

The biggest lesson for me of asking for help was the realization that resiliency begins at home with family.

More than anything else, at the core of why I serve, centers around and is made personal by my family. They are the cornerstone that helps structure, frame and re-set my resiliency.
Our families together make up the larger Air Force family -- a force that is always ready to help, both individually and collectively.

Take advantage of assistance. Don't wait until there is a crisis to learn what is available.

Here in the Mighty Ninety, our duty, our responsibility, our mission is to be ready. When our country calls, we must be resilient enough to answer quickly and loudly that we are ready. Our family and our Air Force family are the ones who are the basis for how quickly we stand and how loudly we answer the call.

So, in the end it is about you and me and us, all of us.