I had a long journey out of the darkness and into the light. I spent four very difficult years as a Marine in the 1960s. The first thing I learned at Parris Island was that I was part of a team and it is the team that succeeds, not the one. I lived that. . . until. . . one day I didn’t.
Although I had a relatively good life, I thought I did it all by myself, with my wife, but basically through my own talents. As I look back, I realize how much of a failure I was.
Then I entered teaching, where teamwork is the name of the game. I flourished. My students flourished, and I pray that the school system flourished. Of course, the system would flourish with or without me, but I was told I made a difference. It is amazing how my Marine training came back to me.
As a history teacher, I worked very closely with our English teachers. We worked so closely that one of them suggested I continue my education and work for a doctorate degree. Being sick of studying history, I decided to pursue a doctorate in literature. I had a ball. I was in my own element. What I learned, I shared with my history students; they, in turn, shared with me their perceptions of history and its great literature. We all learned.
Now, as my life settles down, I have returned to the teamwork of the Marines by being a part of my local Marine Corps League. I again am finding the importance of working together.
My life as part of a team has been good. I am one hand of a powerful force. That force is God. He leads me into areas I fear to go due to a lack of confidence, but I know now that I am one important hand of a strong pair of hands.
©Russell Kendall Carter
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