Now, who is this “we” I keep mentioning? Naval Services FamilyLine. Before I took on the office of Chairman, I spent a few months doing a little marketing research of my own. It seemed most of you thought of us as
(a) A phone number you call if you had a question
(b) We were once navy wifeline association.
(c) Others simply didn’t know the organization at all.
But, many of you will know one or more of our components just not the parent organization, so let me explain…
We were founded in 1965, as the Navy Wifeline Association, by the likes of Mrs. Arleigh Burke and other navy wives. And, yes, we were once a phone number to call with questions as well as we produced a few publications that answered a lot of basic inquiries. The name was changed, in 1997, to Naval Services FamilyLine.
Who are we today?
We are the founders of the COMPASS courses, taught in 17 places around the globe - this intro to navy - 3 day course is a popular start for new navy spouses. They cover everything from moving to reading an LES, local information…etc. Childcare and snacks are provided. These classes are mostly taught at the base support centers. We rely on Naval Services FamilyLine volunteers for this entire program.
The Command Spouse Leadership Course and Command Master Chief Spouse Leadership Course are in Newport, RI. Our steering committees report back to FamilyLine and give great input on keeping the curricula current in those classrooms. Those committees also provide at least two volunteer mentors for each week of class taught.
The Guideline Series of publications; (many of these are outside on our table for you to peruse) - you may also order them for free through our office or download them as pdf files from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Some of the titles are; Guidelines for the Spouses of Chief Petty Officers, Guidelines for the Spouses of Commanding Officers and Social Customs and Traditions. I must also mention our larger, “flagship” publication that is filled with helpful information; Sea Legs. We’ve been promoting and producing this component the longest.
Our newest component was added many years ago but has evolved recently to be a wonderful one-stop shopping for advice on organizing seminars, workshops, etc. to promote spouse leadership. The CORE Online Library has been developed to reflect the efforts by many of the CORE groups out there in the fleet concentrated areas - CORE stands for the Continuum of Resources and Education - meant to be an outreach to all spouses interested in developing leadership / coping skills. This part of our new website is a great source for templates on these topics.
Speaking of our new website. You will be among the first to see here our new and greatly improved site. We encourage you to visit it, explore and recommend!
FamilyLine through the aforementioned components mentors spouses and families of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Please remember us when you’re mentoring a younger, newer, inexperienced spouse or protégé....we can offer a number of services to get them on the right track. Let us help you be a better mentor! Feel free to visit our office, join us as Field Rep, help out with a COMPASS class, promote more people attending (with their spouses) the CSLC and CMCSLC, help us raise funds to keep printing our publications, spread the word about our publications, website and online library!
In closing, I have a story of mentoring.
A young, Navy wife went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were difficult for her. She was tired of deployments, military red tape and the challenges of military life. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they got soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it.
After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked. “What’s the point, grandmother?”
Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity—boiling water—but each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter.
“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?
Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
The coffee bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.
So, which are you? The carrot, the egg or the coffee bean?
Ask this of yourself and your protégé‘s.
Thank you for inviting me today.