Saturday, May 02, 2009

Who Packed Your Parachute?

An excerpt from Aim for the Heart
By Tom Mathews

As a leader, do you honor and appreciate the power of WE? Do you stop to thank and recognize the members of your team? Do you consistently show an attitude of gratitude?

I recently read a great story about Captain Charles Plumb, a graduate from the Naval Academy, whose plane, after 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam, was shot down. He parachuted to safety, but was captured, tortured and spent 2,103 days in a small box-like cell.

After surviving the ordeal, Captain Plumb received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts, and returned to America and spoke to many groups about his experience and how it compared to the challenges of every day life.

Shortly after coming home, Charlie and his wife were sitting in a restaurant. A man rose from a nearby table, walked over and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

Surprised that he was recognized, Charlie responded, "How in the world did you know that?" The man replied, "I packed your parachute." Charlie looked up with surprise. The man pumped his hand, gave a thumbs-up, and said, "I guess it worked!"

Charlie stood to shake the man's hand, and assured him, "It most certainly did work. If it had not worked, I would not be here today."

Charlie could not sleep that night, thinking about the man. He wondered if he might have seen him and not even said, "Good morning, how are you?" He thought of the many hours the sailor had spent bending over a long wooden table in the bottom of the ship, carefully folding the silks and weaving the shrouds of each chute, each time holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn't know.

Plumb then began to realize that along with the physical parachute, he needed mental, emotional and spiritual parachutes. He had called on all these supports during his long and painful ordeal.

As a leader, how many times a day, a week, a month, do we pass up the opportunity to thank those people in our organization who are "packing our parachutes?"

Note from Lucy: We don't have to be a leader of a large corporation to thank those around us for all the work they do on our behalf...Who around you do things for you? Your husband/wife, your kids, maybe your next door neighbor, your paper or postal carrier? I think we need to take note of those that "pack our parachutes" and give them thanks.... To me, one of those should include your Heavenly Father who loves and supports you, day in and day out...A little note of gratitude is a wonderful thing.

Have a great week everyone.


At 3:26 PM, Blogger Diane@Diane's Place said...

What a great illustration! We know how much it builds us up when people acknowledge our efforts and express appreciation for things we do, so why don't we praise others more often?

Have a great weekend, Lucy. It's still raining here. I may have to look over those plans for an ark soon, LOL! ;o)

Love and hugs,


At 6:59 PM, Blogger Susie said...

Having a grateful heart is a wonderful and uplifting feeling..

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Putz said...

great thought wife especially is always always covering my back and yet i take her for granted and yet others like you lucy i tell nuts to you lucy and i am going to go tell karma thanks

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Renie Burghardt said...

Great reminder to be thankful for all our blessings, and to say thank you for all the love and kindness shown to us in the course of our day. And to always remember to thank our Heavenly Father for all the blessings he bestows un us every minute of our lives.

Have a blessed weekend, Lucy!

At 10:22 AM, Blogger Oh great One said...

GREAT post! I loved it! It's amazing when you stop to think of the roles people play in your life.

At 5:47 AM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

There is nothing so appreciated, so simple yet so often forgotten as a "thank you." Very nice story.

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Marla said...

I try to remember to thank people, especially my employees who do their jobs well. This was a nice story.

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Cliff said...

Great story. I agree, it's imperative to thank people for doing a good job.
I always try to thank county employees for the good job they do of making sure my phone doesn't ring. And it doesn't.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Indeed. Thanking people on an every day basis is terribly important....!


Post a Comment

<< Home