• April 30, 2009
  • 18

The Impact Of Words Part I…

As a leader you can often forget the impact your words make on those around you. Not just in your capacity as a military leader, but even as someone of influence in the everyday lives of your family and neighbors.

For instance, I recall having lunch with friends at the Awase Golf Course in Okinawa after church one Sunday. Sitting across from me was a 4 year old girl named Rokeisha. The poor girl was wrestling valiantly with her dessert and losing badly. A massive strawberry nearly the size of her little fist was stubbornly embedded in the ice cream and was shrugging off her spoon as if it were a mere annoyance.

Turning her big brown eyes in my direction she pleaded for my assistance in applying a little good order and discipline to the truculent strawberry. Being the kind of mentor that I am; I prefer to teach people to fish.

America’s 1stSgt mentors children
“You’re going to let that strawberry beat you up? Don’t be a sissy! Get after that thing!” Applying my reservoir of combative knowledge from the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, I coached Rokeisha through various angles of attack as she stabbed, slashed, and chopped at her ice cream with her war spoon.

Finally the offending strawberry was pried loose and Rokeisha victoriously hoisted it up in the air.

“Good! Now ram that thing in your pie hole.”

This statement earned an indignant scolding from the girl’s loving mother.

“Hey! Don’t speak to her like that. I don’t want her to use that kind of language.”

“What do you mean? That wasn’t bad. Besides, she doesn’t listen to anything I have to say anyway.”

“Pie hole!” Rokeisha shouted gleefully, as she devoured the last of her strawberry ice cream.

Let me just say that there is no Professional Military Education which prepares you to deal with an angry mom.

More on the impact of words tomorrow.

Semper Fidelis,
America’s 1stSgt

“This isn’t a game, boy! This is war!”
/ / / /


  1. “Pie hole!”


    For what it’s worth, I think kids today would benefit tremendously from a little “encouragement” like that. It got the job done, and you didn’t use any offensive language.

    What on Earth did the mom think was wrong with “pie hole”?

  2. awww! that was such a sweet story… I agree with Southern about kids needing this kind of “encouragement” and I also agree that “pie hole” is one of the more tame terms I have ever heard from a Marine 😉

  3. If there’s one thing you can guarantee with kids it’s that they effortlessly pick up the words you least want them to say! I don’t see a lot wrong with ‘pie hole’ though. 🙂

  4. Sounds to me like it was a good lesson in taking so shit from anyone or anything…good self-esteem builder…she seemed pretty proud of herself. Not much wrong with pie hole and it may come in handy for her later in life. =)

  5. Aside from screwing moms on graduation day, I must say they (along with the wives) are among America’s greatest heroes. They send, though reluctantly, their sons and daughters and husbands and wives off to uncertain fates and that takes courage. But you had rather jack-off a lion in a telephone booth with a piece of paper than come between a mother and her wee offspring. But you meant well.

  6. Via email from Americas1stSgt:

    “Southern, I suppose it’s just not language young ladies should be using.Of course, when I say it, it must come across somewhat differently.”

    Mike went offline before he got my email with these other comments.I expect he’ll reply with his own sometime after 10 or 11 pm.

    On another front. This definitely calls to mind many Burkisms and Dadisms for that matter especially from that vacation. Two Marines in the same room feeding off of each other is something to behold– or shudder over, such as the case may be.

    Needless to say, the kiddos only choose to regale me with jarhead vocabulary at the most high profile, grossly inappropriate of times and usually their instigator/teacher is no where to be found. Naturally.

    @Ake, Matthew was definitely running away in this pic, but given his Marine ridden gene pool, shortly after this was taken, he regrouped, acquired arms and went back in for another face off. That is: He told mom on him, flung sand, talked smack and finished his 3year old assault off with a resounding “nanny nanny boo boo” thumbs in ears,finger waggling, butt shake combo.

  7. Ha! Ha!

    Kid 1
    Mom 1
    Burke 0.

    Some times we must make sacrifices in order for others to learn. I think the hand slap for the language was worth the lesson for the kid.

  8. T, I think you simultaneously agreed yet defeated that mother’s intent with your statement.

    Red, America’s 1stSgt is widely known to offer incentive training to nearby children at a moments notice.

    Katherine, he didn’t get away. Heh-heh-heh.

    Akelamalu, that’s what I was trying to say! Luckily, all I got was an exasperated sigh. Poor Rokeisha probably got worse the next time she said that. Ha!

    Grasshopper, finally someone appreciates what I’m trying to do with kids here.

    J, how come you always feel the need to hand me the goose egg?

    Coffeepot, I have never confirmed that the whole DI/mom thing ever happened. Please everyone let it go. And I’ll take the lashing from someone’s mom before indecent acts with lions, or even decent ones for that matter. But I see your point.

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