Building a Family Motto – The Hard Way

After leading the Marines out of the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, Chesty Puller told reporters “We didn’t retreat, we simply found ourselves surrounded and their were more enemies behind us then in front, so that’s the way we went.”

For me this is a powerful message on perspective. It was a hard call to withdraw from the Chosin Reservoir. Getting their cost lives… leaving cost more lives. But I would argue that if the hard call wasn’t made it would have cost even more lives maybe even the entire force.

We need to cultivate this perspective to not shy away from the hard way, when it is the right thing to do.

Building our Motto

Anna and I recently sat down with the kids to develop a family motto and mission statement. We wanted to build something that would help guide us through our transition out of military life and help us reintegrate with the civilian world. We have came up with some good stuff and wrote it down but of course the thing that is sticking isn’t what Anna and I thought.

As a family team we were having a lot of back and forth in the discussion and it was getting a little frustrating. Then, it happened. Someone said this was harder than they thought it should… and someone else followed it up with “Of course it is, we’re Nelson’s, we do it the hard way.”

Of course the meticulously thought out Motto and Mission Statement was written down after we all agreed to it.. but you know this is what stuck. This is something that is at the core of our family.

For us the hard way isn’t about making things more complicated than they need to be, it is about not shying away from the hard choice, from the hard work, or the sacrifice to do what is right.



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Live Skillfully!



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