Are you mature enough to be an Airman?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Kevin Hobbs
  • 4th Contracting Squadron
Being an Airman is a tremendous responsibility. We are responsible for flying, maintaining and supporting the most awesome weapon systems the world has ever seen. It takes mature men and women to handle such serious responsibilities where failure has larger consequences than most can imagine. So, I ask one simple question. Are you mature enough to be an Airman?
I'm not talking about your age, rank or your physical maturity, but the maturity of your character. The choices we make, our behavior, is the real test of our maturity -- not the amount of grey hair we have or the rank we hold. Our choices are what define us as human beings, Airmen and leaders. Yet we consistently see our fellow Airmen making extremely bad choices costing them their families, their careers, their freedom and sometimes their lives. You can't help but wonder why an Airman would choose to drink until their blood alcohol level is a .24 and then choose to drive? Why would an Airman choose to not follow a technical order? Why would an Airman choose to do 85 mph in a 35 mph residential area? Why would an Airman choose not to stay physically fit? Why would an Airman choose to sexually assault a fellow Airman? It's a lack of self-discipline -- that's right, self-discipline.

Webster's dictionary defines discipline as "training intended to elicit a specified pattern of behavior or character." As children, our parents, teachers, pastors and other members of the community spent a lot of time guiding us or better yet disciplining us on the difference between right and wrong and that there are consequences for bad choices. This early discipline taught us many lessons. It helped develop our morals and values. It also laid the foundation from which we now, as adults, are supposedly capable of exercising self-discipline to make good choices.

Harry Truman once said, "In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves ... self-discipline with all of them came first." The only way to mature our character is with self-discipline. Self-discipline is more than just knowing what's right. It's about doing what's right. It's about application. Learning is extremely important, but it's useless if you don't apply it.

Consistent self-discipline helps develop habits. I recall the old adage that thoughts become actions, actions become habits, habits become our character, and our character becomes our destiny. This gives the impression that our thoughts automatically translate into our actions, but that's not the case. This is why our intent does not always match our behavior. This is why individuals who have great attitudes sometimes fall short. Self-discipline is the catalyst that translates our thoughts into actions which eventually become habits. As good habits develop, self-discipline becomes easier and character matures.

Where are you in the maturing process? Are you capable of exercising self-discipline when making choices? Wherever you are in the process, never forget that being an Airman is a huge responsibility. These responsibilities should only be entrusted to mature men and women, men and women who are capable of exercising self-discipline. So, are you mature enough to be an Airman?