In April 1942, Colonel Jimmy Doolittle led the first bombing attack (and near suicide mission) against military targets in Japan. The navigator on his plane was Hank Potters. When the mission was over, Hank Potters’ mother wrote a letter to Doolittle’s wife in which she said, “I feel very proud and humble that the boys not only had the courage but the ability to do their job.”
At least 2 other mothers, in separate letters, would repeat nearly the exact sentiment to Jo Doolittle.
“…the courage and the ability…”
It started me thinking—maybe you can’t have one without the other? Maybe courage is enhanced with ability? And if that’s true, does that also mean that other worthy traits become more possible or even dependent on ability?
So I tried out a few combinations to see if it was true.
Not only do you have the determination to complete your homework, but you have the ability to do the work and to do it well.
Not only do you have the love to raise a child, but you have the ability to be a good mother.
Not only do you have the grit to be a police officer, but you have the ability to save lives.
Not only do you have the dedication to be a teacher, but you have the ability to communicate knowledge
Not only do you have the compassion to be a doctor, but you have the ability to heal
Not only do you have the passion to be a principal, but you have the ability to lead
I think Hank Potters mom had it right. It takes more than courage, determination, enthusiasm, and other highly prized qualities to be successful. It takes…ability.
We should remember this when it comes to our children. If we really want our children to possess all of those great and noble qualities, then we have to ensure they also have the ability to do ‘the job’.