My husband called and asked the simple question, “Can you give me some bullet points covering what you have done while we have been here at Hohenfels?” Bullet points= volunteer work. Somebody was working on PCS awards, and his simple question sent my mind in motion.
I truly appreciate PCS awards or any volunteer recognition, but unfortunately my love language is not awards. They are important, needed and necessary, but they do not feed this beast. She has an entirely different diet. My husband doesn’t coerce, push or make me do anything militarily related. He has always supported what I choose to do or not do. I am the wacko who actually enjoys mandatory fun on most days, but my bullet points have varied greatly from post to post and year to year; I have been “all in” and I have been hiding out while hanging by a thread.
I entertained myself as I whipped up some bullet points I jotted down but did not send.
- Did not use any four-letter words in mixed company
- Kept my inside voice inside
- Controlled eye-roll reflex
Bullet points don’t tell the whole story, but they are part of our story. Comparing our bullet points with other spouses is like comparing apples to apricots. They are both fruits beginning with the letter A, but that is it. I have been surrounded by lawyers, nurses, public relations and marketing gurus, teachers, sales reps, yogis, artists, accountants and every incarnation of a professional under the sun. At some point, as Army spouses, we all volunteer. Whether you give a little or a lot, we all give. Our bullet points (and how we chose to fill them) are ours and ours alone.
Many actions do not seem bullet point worthy, but they are what our Army community is built on.
- Fed the neighbor’s kids because you had more casserole than kiddos
- Picked up milk for a neighbor
- Smiled at the new girl and said, “Hello”
It is the quiet, behind the scenes, seemingly un-bullet point worthy actions that make our Army great. We do because we know it needs to be done. My Mom had the added stress of being a block check on my Dad’s OER. Thankfully I am not, but I still chose my bullet points for the greater good.
My bullet points have been a page long, or short and sweet. Sometimes
sums it up perfectly, and I have learned to be okay with that too.
During a pre-deployment CARE team training session a peer leaned over and whispered in my ear, “The Army expects a lot from their families.” I replied with a nod and lived the fulfillment of her words during the 14-month deployment that followed. Volunteerism is not for wimps. I have worked harder and learned more by leading and being led by volunteers. Show me a leader who motivates a force of unpaid volunteers, and you are witnessing loyalty and leadership in its truest form.
Our bullet points can be translated into valuable work experience and credentials. Just because you aren’t paid doesn’t mean you aren’t a professional. Never underestimate the wealth of experience and knowledge you acquire in an unpaid volunteer position. More importantly, never underestimate the effects of your do-gooding on others. No time we give helping another human being is ever wasted. The effects are not always instantaneous or noted, but they have a lasting legacy.
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson