Before I started this blog, I thought that I could deliver my message through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and all the other social channels that we usually use. Over the years, many of my friends, family, and coworkers have told me that I should start writing down my thoughts so I could share with other people what has taken me a lifetime to learn.
I was lucky enough to be born into a family of leaders, most notably, Colonel Russell P. “Red” Reeder. Since my parents’ divorce when I was two, my older sister and I spent every weekend with our father. Most of the weekends, my father would take us up to West Point to stay with our grandparents. Whenever I was not playing outside or building a tree house with my dad, my grandfather, Red Reeder, was teaching me how to swing a bat (Red played professional baseball for the Giants for a short while before going back into the military) or a golf club (even with a prosthetic on his left leg from taking shrapnel on the 7th day of D-Day, he was a scratch golfer).
When I was older, I broke from family tradition and went to James Madison University (JMU) to get my Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. After college, I worked as a computer programmer in Washington, DC, and, luckily enough, my grandparents had chosen to relocate to the military retirement community in Virginia. Even though I was very busy in my young career, I made a point to go and have lunch with my grandfather and grandmother once a month. Those weekends at West Point combined with the monthly lunches with my grandfather and his peers left me with more life lessons than I knew I had. Lessons that I still recall today and that make me say: “Ah, now I understand what my father and grandfather were talking about.”
Leaving a legacy
As my grandfather’s namesake, I grew up with complete strangers hearing my name and asking me if I was related. When I answered yes, they would immediately go into a story about how my grandfather was either directly their leader or mentor (he also taught leadership at West Point) or how one of his books had changed their life – Red published over thirty-five books about leadership, American history, and sports at West Point.
I decided to write this blog not only to leave a small legacy, without any pretention, but also to share some of those life lessons. It’s my hope that some of them will be carried on and will help other people live better, more productive lives.
Another reason for writing this blog is to be able to share my thoughts and life lessons with my own children, and maybe even their children’s children. I believe that we should live life to the fullest, with no regrets. The motto I live by is “work hard, play hard.” (Hopefully, I work a lot smarter these days than just hard, but you get my drift.) I would hope that I will live to be in my nineties like my two grandfathers, but if not, at least my thoughts will be here for my friends, family, and future family to hear and even pass on.
I believe we all have a purpose, and I am happy that I feel like I’ve found mine – loving my family and helping people grow personally and professionally. Making a difference by helping others become better leaders in their own lives, on all levels.
Feel free to share this post with those you know who appreciate life and are like me – a constant student of life!
Onward and upward!