What you see is what you get!

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by Terry Camsey, Major –

I read a great deal and my taste is very eclectic.

Currently, and for the umpteenth time, I am re-reading some of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Do you find that when you reread stories (or technical books for that matter) you see things that you never did the first time through?

It happened to me again as I reread “The Boscombe Valley Mystery.” Sherlock Holmes is having a discussion with his friend Dr. Watson and says this:

“Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing…it may seem to point
very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little,
you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to
something entirely different.”

As I read, my mind immediately went back to an incident that occurred 25years ago. I was the food services director at Children’s Hospital in Hollywood and we were getting ready to open one of the cafeteria lines. Some of the ambulant children were allowed to come to the cafeteria and make purchases and one little boy came early. I said to him, “Can you come back in five minutes when we are open?”

He looked disappointed and as he walked away I heard him matter half under his breath, “He doesn’t know I am dying.” It shifted my own point of view. In fact, in the vernacular of today, I experienced a quantum paradigm shift and felt then—and relive right up to today—the pain of having misread the situation.

There are so many of us who hold firm, even inflexible, views on various subjects and are thus not open to the possibility that what we see may not be the whole reality…or any reality at all!

Generation has significant impact for a start. What one generation sees as “Army” is not what other generations see. Each may be right, but not necessarily seeing the whole picture. What each sees may be “something entirely different” just as Holmes suggested.

There is a famous painting of a “Sherlock Holmes type” pipe with a caption that (in English) says, “This is not a pipe.” The statement seems odd until you start looking at the pipe from different perspectives. If it is not a pipe what is it? A source of pleasure to some …a catalyst for cancer to others…a source of comfort…to yet others a symbol of status?

If we put up a picture of an Army corps building with the legend “This is not the Army,” what is it then? Start looking beyond the building to what ministries and services it represents and you will find yourself stimulated to see in greater depth and with different perspective.

Look at the picture and ask, “What does God see?” “What would those who follow us see?” “What do the Army saints who have gone before us see?” “What does Satan see? See it from many perspectives and the stereotypes will fade. When someone says, “It may be growing, but it’s not Army!” Ask them what they mean by Army, odds are that they are viewing it from only one perspective—their own!

Most people want to leave a legacy to their successors. So a legacy is not so much about the past as it is about the future.

I would like to be part of leaving a legacy that reflects an Army built on the same foundational principles that Booth laid and has as great an impact in the days to come as that early Army. (Be careful here not to confuse methods that were effective in his day—to implement those principles—with the principles themselves).

What kind of Army do you want to leave to the generations that follow—an Army that is healthy, growing, full of vitality, or…?

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