Quoted from: Gesell and F. L. Ilg, The Child From Five to Ten (Hamish Hamilton,
1946), p. 404.
If what Gesell says is true, then from the time we are born right up to the time we become adults
we are influenced not only by our environment and our relationship to it but also by heredity.
To put it more simply, we're all as different in the mental baggage we brought from childhood as
we are different in our lifestyles or approaches to life's tasks.
Consider a simple matter such as two soldiers who have to prepare for a trip for which plenty of
advance notice has been given. Despite the attempts of the Army to 'standardize' behavior, the approach
of each to packing for the trip would be as different as the variety of mental baggage each has brought
from childhood. Given advance notice, one might pack slowly and carefully over a period of several
days or weeks. Given the same notice the other might wait until the night before or moments before it's
time to leave and thereby risk forgetting something essential. And it's conceivable that one would prefer
that a spouse or friend pack for him as it is also conceivable that the other would never permit or want a
spouse to pack his or her personal belongings.
The point in all of this is that people are different in their approaches to the simplest tasks; but
being different doesn't necessarily mean that the person is wrong, or bad, or backward. Think about that
the next time there is a task at hand that you think might have been done differently than someone else.
Next time the opportunity presents itself, try to be more tolerant than usual of the way someone else
handles a task. Try to approach life's problems and dynamics in a more flexible fashion; relax a bit
about things that aren't crucial.
Much of our ethics and most of our legal system is based on tolerance for diversity. We all have
a stake in it. I tolerate your differences from me and you tolerate my differences.
In a move toward more ethical and tolerant decision making in the Army, "The Military
Decision-Making Model" was developed in the early Eighties. While Fort Leavenworth now prepares
training material on ethics for the Army, this model has remained a cornerstone for Army ethical
training. Stop here now to review the model. Can you meet the eight conditions when you are
confronted with a problem-especially one involving your family or a member of your unit?