Parenting / Fatherhood

Parenting as a leader or a loser?

How will my teenage son remember today? Will he at all or will it be just another in a long list of days where his parents tell him he’s letting them down, he’s not being all he can be?

It’s Sunday. Should be a low-key, low-stress day right? It wasn’t.

My son is smart. He has excellent writing skills. He’s physically healthy. SO WHY WON’T HE DO HIS DAMN SCHOOLWORK?

He’s home on quarantine because another kid on the track team got COVID. We figured out that between Tuesday and Friday last week he did literally no assignments. …

Fiction / Action / Violent

His contacts were bothering him, so when he got home from work, he changed out of his Army uniform and took them out. Slipping on a pair of old gym shorts, he glanced around for his favorite shirt. Spotting the blue, wide-lapeled, polo-type covered with big, green swimming fish, he pulled it on over his head.

Going into the bathroom, he put on his military-issue glasses. Looking in the mirror, he couldn’t help chuckling at the picture. The glasses, shorts, and shirt combined with his high-and-tight haircut presented the appearance of the quintessential “nerd.” Only on closer inspection, one noticed…

Self Improvement / Motivation / Success

The road to success!

This is the road to success. Yeah, I almost didn’t recognize it either. (CCO)

Success. O Camelot, where art thou? It seems like we’re all waiting for that big break-through, you know like when the Rolling Stones released “It’s All Over Now” in 1964 and it turned out to be a nearly endless string of hit songs?

That’s only the way it looks from a distance. The road wasn’t smooth for the Stones and it isn’t smooth for anyone else. The Rolling Stones dealt with drug and alcohol problems, member turnover, and of course multiple brain transplants for Keith Richards who will never die.

Nope the road isn’t smooth. In fact, I’d argue it…

Leadership / Thoughtfulness / Values

Can you lead while watching a movie?

No, you can’t. But you can use the opportunity to broaden your thinking and reflect. This afternoon, my wife and I watched The White Tiger. It was on Netflix’s Academy Awards Watchlist. I’m usually more of a Dwayne Johnson or James Bond movie-watcher, but I decided what the heck.

Shot in India, the scenery struck me with its stark poverty and radically different social systems. It was an interesting story which didn’t go the way I expected.

Growing up in West Virginia, I thought I had seen poverty. Then I went to Iraq. What an incredible difference! …

Leadership / Decision-making / Clarity

It’s not always at work.

Went to see my mother and brother today for a meeting with her accountant. She’s 85 and has a rental property. She’s ready to be done with it and wanted to find the exit strategy. We met the CPA for about an hour and ran through options.

We went to her house (our childhood home) and talked it over some more. Then we laid out a tentative course of action. The problem was there were no dates and no one with assigned responsibilities. We started to drift away when I said to hold on for moment. …

Leadership / Teambuilding

Build your team to do anything!

Image by Samir Biscevic from Pixabay

When I was a field artillery platoon leader, I led the best platoon in the battalion by just about any measure you cared to choose. My platoon had more guys qualify expert on the gunner’s test than the other two batteries combined. We won best Fire Direction Center in the battalion. Out of 24 gun sections in the best section competition, we placed 1st, 2d, 5th, and 12th. We were damn good.

I had great NCOs and by then had learned enough to help them by fighting for resources (like training time, training land) and then getting out of their…


Part 2 — Understand others

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Where my daughter Sophia worked at the grocery store, there were broad windows where she could look out and see nearly the entire parking lot. She could see the way people parked their cars, how they exited their vehicle and then approached the store. All of these can give an indication of their emotional state.

There were times when she could see someone stepping out, moving in an abrupt manner. She then had an indicator the person was upset. When you see that situation developing but you don’t have any tools to deal with it, that can be upsetting and frustrating. In fact, it can cause your amygdala to go on full alert and make your dragon ready to roar! When that happens, you’re in a poor mental state to deal with a tough situation.

As a front-line COVID warrior, Sophia was in the crisis from day one. She was often put at the front…

Fiction / Short-Short / Adventure

Image by Brigitte from Pixabay

They lived in a small house halfway up the mountain. By West Virginia standards, it was a small mansion — 3 bedrooms. They had lived there now about six months. The woman was getting used to living this close to the forest, but was still a little overwhelmed by all the trees. The only trees she had ever seen before were in Central Park. The fall air had a nip to it, but the first frost hadn’t hit yet. Her husband, a West Virginia country boy from way back, loved the location. They had all of the amenities of civilization…

Leadership / Self Improvement

Part 1 — Know Yourself

Image by Claudio_Scott from Pixabay

When my wife and I were first married, we were stationed in Germany. As with any job, there were good days and bad days. In my early twenties, I wasn’t as mature as I needed to be. After a bad day at work, I’d come home and snap or be irritable with my wife. I felt frustrated or annoyed but I didn’t consciously grasp why. As a result, I was simply lashing out at whatever was in front of me. When I figured this out (with my wife’s help), our marriage became richer.

That was the beginning for me of…

I've always hated Friday afternoon deadlines. If the requestor is going to work on it that weekend, that's different, but the reality is that stuff usually sits for the weekend. It's the same for all deadlines. They need to be when the next in line needs the stuff, not something arbitrary.

Great stuff, Max!

Mark McMillion

Retired Army officer with two tours in Baghdad, taught at West Point, married with four kids. Proud West Virginian and West Point grad. Amazon pubs.

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