When I was a kid, I wanted the Trapper-Keepers and cool pencil boxes the other kids had. However, this was not in the cards for me as we were living on a pretty strict budget and every penny mattered. I did not understand it at the time, but I certainly remember the lessons today.

In hindsight, my disappointment with not getting the name brand stuff embarrasses me. I do remember sharing my disappointment with my mom and she taught me to adapt and overcome. We took one of the cheap-o pencil boxes and I glued the football cards of my favorite players to it and did something similar with pictures of sports cars to an old binder. It turned out looking pretty cool and the next day all of my friends were focusing on mine and completely ignoring their own.

The lesson I learned from this was when we face a problem, we don’t always have the things we want as a solution, but if we are willing to look around, there is always a solution. The trick is getting past what we think is the only way to do something and open our minds to what is around us. The memory of this pencil box in sixth grade helped me to fix my C-5 as a flying crew chief, make it through countless hours on the C-17, and endless other solutions as a NCO, SNCO, and civilian.

Thank you Mom for always showing me there is a solution to every problem…even if I can’t see it right away.

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