Freshman yeah at the Naval Academy is an interesting one.
The day you get inducted into the Naval Academy and you become a “Plebe” you are informed that you now only have five basic responses.
Imagine going almost 20 years of your life and then being told you communications has been reduced to five responses, none of which is longer than five words hahahaha.
19 year old me wasn’t super hype on that idea.
Your responses are limited to what are called the five sir sandwiches:
1) Sir, Yes Sir (or Ma’am)
2) Sir, No Sir
3) Sir I’ll find out Sir
4) Sir, aye aye sir (I understand)
5) Sir, no excuse sir
For a kid who genuinely loves a good argument this is basically my worst nightmare.
This is the first thing they teach you at the Academy and its pretty simple:
Shut your mouth, follow directions and cut the crap.
Growing up in the house of Elmo (my dad) I was well versed in the school of “Nobody likes excuses” and being from the south sir/ma’am are just how we do things so #3 is the one that has served me well as I’ve matured.
“Sir, I’ll find out sir”……..it could be the most important thing I learned there.
It means that we don’t to know all the answers
It means that it is acceptable to admit we don’t have all of the necessary information
It means we will go and seek out that information and educate ourselves
It means we have to humility to recognize all of the above
I couldn’t even count the number of times that phrase has saved me.
And I definitely couldn’t count the number of times I’ve watched someone stumble over themselves when all they needed to say was “I’ll find out”.
I’m not entirely sure how to teach people this lesson without putting them through plebe summer hahaha.
I wish I could just stop people when they stumble around trying to explain to me that they know how to eat, train, or anything else and just look them in the face and say “Its ok if you don’t know”
The best I can do is share this story with you.