We can look up to figures who came before us, call them our heroes, and attempt in our own small measure to model our lives on their examples. Yet, often we aspire to be like the man or the woman at the peak of their achievement. I don’t think we do this intentionally, but rather just take them at their most dominant moment because that is often the moment most emphasized or the identity most defined.
But often their true spark of nobility came not when they were at their peak, but when the conditions of their success were still uncertain and they kept moving forward anyway.
Readers of this blog know I have an intellectual crush on Admiral H. G. Rickover, father of the nuclear navy. Yet, I’ve started to share this fact in a slightly different way. When asked to list the people I admire (and yes, I am asked this often enough) I have begun to refer to Rickover not as Admiral Rickover but as Captain Rickover instead.
There was a time when he was an officer on the cusp of changing history or failing to achieve anything worth remembering. In the face of a range of challenges, from indifference to active opposition, he continued toward his goal. He took the blows, gathered the allies, and made a difference worth making. I believe Captain Rickover is truly worthy of admiration. You may disagree, but you are as free to pick your heroes as I am mine.
So, this early Friday morning, led by the example of a rogue Captain on a mission to change the Navy, I arise and return to the fight. My mission: spreading the belief in everyone that regardless their station in the hierarchy theycan lead us to a better future if only they will try and drive change.
I’m going to try today. How about you?