It’s All Begins with Making My Bed—
Which Ginger Unmakes

Here I am at 75 and counting. I am semiretired, except for teaching a couple online classes during the fall, winter, and spring semesters. I love teaching and won’t ever stop. I wake up every morning with Ginger waiting patiently to see my eyes open. When she sees them open, her day begins. Often, I will tell her to give me another few minutes, which rarely works. She gets up and walks around on top of the bed as I am trying to ignore her. Then she circles around and around until she plops down upon my back…all 75-pounds of my Irish Setter. I have a clear choice. I can endure a large Irish Setter sprawled upon my back or get up, which I do. I get dressed and take Ginger for our hour-long journey around Lake La Mancha.

Having completed our cardiovascular exercise program, I make breakfast for the two of us. I have a grapefruit and coffee while I give Ginger a scoop of dry dog food to which I add a scrambled egg. I watch less than 10-minutes of the morning news while we eat. I go into my bedroom, make my bed, and take a shower. By the time I finish my shower and get dressed, Ginger has unmade my bed.

I go into the bedroom to find Ginger sitting on my pillow proud as a peacock. I am about to yell at her for lying on my pillow and messing up my bed. She has so routinized this dance that I just sit down next to her and laugh as I pet my much-loved Ginger Pooh. The unmaking of the bed and resting upon my pillow is her way of expressing her love for me. Ginger associates her love for me via the pillow and sheets, even when I am not present at the moment. In fact, I grasp that reality and when I have to go out, I let her sit on the bed until I return from shopping. She does care about our relationship.

It was then that I recalled a lecture by Admiral William H. McRaven, which gave a list of things that we must routinely do each day. Interestingly, the first thing is to make our bed. McRaven said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.” While making your bed doesn’t seem like a monumental effort, you will have to do the little things if you wish to do the major things like changing the world.

Admiral McRaven

Hey, changing the world is a goal of mine also…at least the part of the world around Taunggyi, Myanmar. My three grandchildren attend two different schools in that city. I am starting a fund-raising drive to get 1250 laptops for the schools and to improve the Internet service at both schools.

McRaven was a Navy SEAL who talked about their training during his speech about making your bed. One aspect of the training is to deal with the way the world is. He talked about how they divide trainees into boat crews of seven members. One of these groups was made up of a diverse group of SEALS, except that they were all far shorter than the rest of the groups. The other groups nicknamed them The Munchkin Crew due to them being short. Size was the way their world was…short. However, the Munchkin Crew looked at their world and addressed that reality. What would you do to address the issue of size if you were a part of the Munchkin Crew?

The Munchkin Crew dealt with their lack of size by adding small flippers to their feet just prior to an exercise of swimming a long distance to the shore from out at sea. Interestingly, none of the other crews ever were faster getting to the shoreline than the munchkins. No pain, no gain.

McRaven also mentioned that while swimming they will often confront sharks that will circle the SEALS. He cautioned his crew and his listeners to never attempt to swim away from a shark. If you do, you will quickly become dead meat. Essentially, McRaven said to stand your ground. When the shark attacks, the SEAL should punch the shark in its snout. It will be the shark that will swim away.

Now, you know some of the insights that allow the Navy SEALS to master their watery world. However, how did McRaven’s lecture help me face my goal of changing my chosen part of the world in Taunggyi? I need $500,000 for improved Internet service and 1250-laptops. That seems a bit of a stretch to some of you. Many of you are thinking, “Does Campbell really think that he will be able to raise a half million dollars for two schools where his granddaughters attend?” I do. Trust. I have begun a long journey toward that goal.

Your questioning enables me to explain what happened to me on both my trips to Myanmar…especially the most recent one. Myanmar changed me. Go to We Are Family. In the introduction to that index page is an outline of my emotional journey toward my goal of 1250 laptops and improving the Internet to the schools where my grandchildren attend. My real world possesses a long list of problems that I must address. If a laptop costs $300 and I need 1250 of them, you do the math.

I’ll do the math for you. It is nearly $400,000. Additionally, I need to increase Internet access for the two schools. The laptops wouldn’t be fully utilized without improving bandwidth, which will cost me.

Therefore, I am like a Navy SEAL in training. I’m not one of the big guys with all the money. Consequently, I need to attach fins while swimming. Trust me; I’d prefer having the big bucks, but I don’t. I either quit or get engaged. I have chosen the latter. McRaven taught me that. Additionally, I am swimming in shark infested waters. I have doubters who say, “Hey, Campbell, you aren’t some young kid. Chill. Enjoy your twilight years.”

My retort is that the only means by which I can enjoy my twilight years is to achieve my goal of raising a half million dollars for two schools in a faraway country. I can’t run or rather swim away from the sharks. That is a self-defeating response. However, watch me punch those sharks in their snouts. I won’t swim away, but they will.

Oh, by the way, McRaven, who said if you want to change the world, you need to begin by making your bed. McRaven was making his bed on December 13, 2003 when, as overall commander of US forces, US soldiers captured Saddam Hussein. McRaven also made his bed on May 1, 2011. He was the commander in charge of the raid resulting in the death of Osama bin Laden at his headquarters in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Finally, I have several suggestions...

  1. Make your bed every morning.
  2. Contribute to my fund-raising drive of the laptops and improved Internet reception.
  3. Send this link, We Are Family, to then of your friends and ask them to send it to ten of their infinitum.
  4. Finally, return with me to Myanmar and see the children using your laptop gift to each of them.

PS I was so impressed by McRaven speech, a got his book, Make Your Bed from Amazon.

This is Admiral McRaven’s lecture.

This is another video about Admiral McRaven.

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