Our Veterans’ Perspectives program…
“Welcome to our new Veterans’ Perspectives storytelling program!
Whether or not you’re a veteran, I truly hope you’ll find our stories entertaining and thought-provoking. And if you find them helpful too, so much the better!
Although I designed our program for veterans, I also designed it for anyone touched by a veteran. And because veterans touch so many non-veterans, I see the program as being for us all too.
This was confirmed as I stumbled across Nelson Mandela’s thoughts about the greatest gift anyone could give. While it seemed that he could have been describing the gift all veterans give us, it was also clear that this gift applied to us all too.
So, there were these three ideas that specifically shaped our program…
The first idea was that this program could help veterans communicate more effectively — and thereby offer them the confidence they might need as they entered the civilian world.
The second idea was that the program could also help the civilian world better integrate veterans into their world. We thought this would be good for both the civilian world and for veterans.
The third idea was that the program could highlight just how well veterans have already integrated into the civilian world. This would also showcase the extraordinary value they have already brought to it.
These ideas were the driving force behind our program…
Finally, a thought about “positioning” —
Some suggest that veterans are “entitled” to special treatment because of their service. I think veterans should avoid this perception. Very few in the civilian or military world respond well to anyone claiming entitlement for any reason. Instead, many would subscribe to Mark Twain’s thoughts on entitlement…
So, I believe veterans should avoid any suggestion that they have a sense of entitlement as they enter the civilian world. Instead, they should rather position themselves as having the skills and qualities the civilian world is seeking.
In a nutshell, this is why we’ve designed our program as we have.
So, welcome again to our program. I very much hope you’ll enjoy it and that you’ll find it useful, interesting and even mildly entertaining!
Michael Friedlander, Founder of The-Gift-Tree Foundation.“
Our specific goals…
Our Veterans’ Perspectives program has three specific goals —
The first is to collect stories from veterans in which they share their inter-personal and intra-personal perspectives as they enter the civilian world —
Their inter-personal stories are about their interaction with the civilian world.
Their intra-personal stories are about how they address their inevitable personal insecurities and uncertainties as they enter the civilian world.
A second goal is to offer veterans leadership training programs that focus on people-skills and ethics. This is designed to reassure veterans that they already have many of the attributes the civilian world is seeking.
Our third goal is to offer veterans our broad storytelling platform. Here, we would invite them to tell any story that fits into our broad storytelling platform. This will also allow them to showcase the skills and insights. In an introductory video, Michael Friedlander offers an overview of our broad storytelling platform.
Veterans and Ubuntu…
There is a connection between the little-known ancient African philosophy of Ubuntu and the values held dear by both our military and civilian societies. This connection is about the common bond that exists between us all. Ubuntu teaches and describes how we can’t survive alone and how we need one another to survive. It is how we discover our own humanity only by interacting with one another. It is about our interdependency.
Ubuntu teaches and describes how we need one another and that we can’t survive alone. It is how we discover our own humanity only by interacting with one another. It is about our interdependency.
Through Ubuntu and our common values, we see veterans and non-veterans as part of a single family with each family member supporting and respecting the other. And with each recognizing the value each brings to the table.
So, what is the connection between this and our program?
We see stories as the means by which we highlight this common bond that exists between veterans and non-veterans.
By way of example, what follows are two stories. While one is from a non-veteran and the other from a veteran, each offers virtually the same gift.
The first story is “A Doer’s Tale.” This is a story that a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post told Michael Friedlander.
The second story is one that Roy H. Adams, Jr., Ph.D., Colonel (Ret), US Army tells in an audio interview with Michael. Roy’s story is about reporting for duty soon after graduating from Ranger School.
What we found intriguing was how two storytellers with such different backgrounds could tell stories that offered essentially the same gift.
So, we hope you’ll agree that, whether or not we are veterans, we all indeed do share common bonds. And that we can all benefit from sharing stories about these bonds. This is what our program is about…