Monday, January 10, 2011

Being A Grownup

King George VI

Full disclosure: I used to work for the Wall Street Journal for ten years (leaving 6 months ago) and I am still a big fan of the paper. One of my favorite columnists is Peggy Noonan and it is her column from this weekend that I wanted to give mention.

The column titled "The Captain and the King" was referring the Captain Owen Honors, recently removed from his command of a United States aircraft carrier for making and showing raunchy, homemade films in which he was featured. The 'king' pertains to King George VI (Queen Elizabeth's father) who was afflicted with a debilitating stammer and is the subject of a very fine movie called "The King's Speech" which I was lucky enough to see this past weekend.

But what I love about Ms. Noonan's columns (and what I usually relate to) is the 'calling out' or 'common sense' approach to tackling societal ills be they political or personal.

In this week's column she draws an analogy between the recent inappropriate behavior of the American ship's captain and the Englishman who didn't really want to be king back in the 1930s just as Hitler was coming to power.

Regarding the captain:
"A captain has to be a captain. He can't make videos referencing masturbation or oral sex. He has to uphold values even though he finds them antique, has to represent virtues that he may not in fact possess, he has to be, in his person, someone sailors aspire to be."
....a bit further on:
"when no one wants to be "the establishment", when no one accepts the role of authority figure, everything gets damaged, lowered."

An again further on, regarding the afflicted king:
"He will stutter, but this is England and England can't stutter. It can't falter, it can't sound or seem unsure at a time like this.....he sacrifices his desire not to be king, not to lead, not to make that damn speech. He does it with commitment, courage, effort. He does it for his country."

Both men had an opportunity to lead, the inspire, to make a difference. Both had so much promise. One succeeded, one did not.

There are many lessons to be learned from these two stories, these two men. As parents, the greatest job we have is to make our children accountable for their actions and to make sure that they know their actions have consequences. This is how leaders are formed and 'grownup' parents should also be held accountable.

I urge you to read the entire column if you can gain access to it. I also urge you to see "The King's Speech". It's a great movie full of unknown details about a man in crisis in a time before news became 24/7. 

Refreshing to say the least.

No comments:

Post a Comment