Find your balance during your time at Kunsan

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patrick Piazza
  • 8th Logistics Readiness Squadron
Leadership has many definitions and means different things to different people. The Air Force Professional Development Guide says leadership is the art of influencing and directing people to accomplish the mission. In fact, the thing that separates us from every other air force in the world is our ability to push this art down to the lowest level.

Unfortunately, some people miss the opportunity to lead the people most in need and most hungry for their leadership ... their children.

Most days after work, we take a little time to decompress from the events of the day. The hectic ops tempo, the inspections, MOPP gear, etc., runs through our minds on the way to our dorm rooms. While at Kunsan, those dorm rooms are empty and we have plenty of time to "close the hangar doors," meet with friends, go to the club, the gym, or whatever puts our minds at ease. Although these things make us happy and reduce our stress, are we doing enough to remember those loved ones we left when we came to Kunsan? Are we taking enough time to stay engaged on what is going on in their daily lives back home? Even if we can't be there, do we take the time to call the kids before they go to school or our spouses before they head off to work? Do we take advantage of the technology we are given to see how much they have grown, watch them perform their dance recital, or see how they can dribble a basketball between their legs? As leaders we must take the time to do these things.

During this busy permanent change of station season, we must think about the changes we will experience when we return to our families. When our family responsibility returns and our autonomy diminishes, will we embrace that change or resent it? For some, the return to family life may be difficult; however, nothing is more rewarding for us and more important for our families. We have all had the briefings. Most of us have been deployed or on short tours before. We know how the book tells us to integrate back into our family, but is it anymore than just commonsense? I could care less where my kids put the cereal, how they conduct the after dinner dish routine, or what time my son goes to bed. All that matters is I won't be woken at 3 a.m. by the dorm fire alarm, but rather by my little one as he jumps in bed with me in the morning.

After the operational readiness inspection, wing leadership talked to us about getting back a balance in our lives. We were asked to remember the people who will be with us well after this career is over - our family.

When I arrived here in August 2010, those most important in my life were my high school senior talking about who the cutest boy in school was, my 19 year old telling me about the newest turbo charger and why he had to have it on the car he doesn't own, and my 6 year old running around telling me what great adventure Sponge Bob and Patrick had that day.

Today, my daughter is almost done with her freshman year of college, and she just decided she is going to be a doctor. My 20 year old is halfway through an auto mechanic high performance school, and the "little one" has almost completed the first grade and reads to me every night. When I return home in August, the leader in me knows I should adapt to the situation and not have the situation adapt to me ... but the father in me is going to make up for all of the things I've missed.
How will you get your balance?