Growing up with Dad in the Marine Corps, we moved a lot.  Dallas, Memphis, Cherry Point NC, Quantico VA, Camp LeJeune NC, Rockport TX, Fallbrook CA, Raytown, MO, are a few of the places.  Then he got out of the service, and I began to travel as a college student, then in the US Navy, as a hotel troubleshooter, and finally as a Realtor.  My single-spaced two-page dwelling list now includes 63 homes.  With the name Bekins and much moving experience, I should write a book about it.
My brother Chris and I learned a lot about different cultures.  Yes, Missouri the “show me” state is far  different from Texas, which is “a whole other country.”  As we gathered intel about each place, we also understood how different people think.  This was important because we might be in one place for six weeks or six years.  Surrounding ourselves with new friends and adjusting very quickly to the local lingo was critical to acceptance.  We had no roots, but we did have adaptability, a commodity that is highly valuable in our ever-changing world in 2022. 
As an officer’s child, we represented the Marine Corps with our conduct.  Believe you me, if we waited at the house after school “until your father gets home” as Mom put it, we knew we were in real trouble.  His career could change because of what we said or did to another person.  The strict boundaries between enlisted kids, officer’s kids, and town kids was highly understood on base.  In town and in school our conduct was a different story.  We all went to the same schools.  If ever the phrase “my dad is the Base Commander” came out of your mouth, you were going to hear about it when “your father gets home.” 
Here is the takeaway.  As citizens of this chaotic world, people are watching our conduct.  This is especially true in situations of stress and conflict.  Our language, our reactions, our body position, our concepts, our endurance, our politics, our morals, and our negotiations are all under constant scrutiny.  It may not seem fair, but another person can change because we did something to him which was outside of our usual character.  It might be an event they witnessed or heard in the rumor mill about us doing to someone else.  The term “hypocrite” is easy to apply and astonishingly difficult to shed once it is attributed to us. 
Joyful, I remind you that someone can also be changed for the better because of what we do.  Taking that fatherless child with you on the family camping trip, handing a burger to the truly hopeless derelict sitting on the sidewalk, teaching chess to the kids at the YMCA, reading a book to someone in an assisted living home, stopping to help someone change a tire, calming a desperate mother in a store who has lost her cell phone, or just listening to someone in need are all activities, among thousands, that speak volumes of who we can be to shine a light of goodness into the world around us. 
Be proactive.  Think about what you can do to give back.  We have gained knowledge and wisdom through our good and bad experiences.  There are folks out there that need to know what we know.  It is time to pour out your blessing on others.  Today is a good day to begin being the conduit of goodness that God created you to be.

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