COUNSELOR'S CORNER: Commitment and inspiration

By Fred Cavaiani

I am writing this from Pueblo, CO where I am visiting my son. Today we attended the football game between the Air Force Academy and Notre Dame in Colorado Springs. During the game I was inspired by the tribute given to the Air Force Academy, Class of 1963. There were seven Vietnam Veterans in this class and four of them had spent seven years in a Vietnam prison camp. These men were young during that war. Now they are in their seventies. I witnessed dedicated American Heroes on this autumn Saturday afternoon in the mountains of Colorado. The football game was a blowout. Notre Dame trounced the Air Force team. But watching these older Air Force veterans being honored made me grateful to be attending this game.

At a football game played in the stadium of our military schools, the cadets dress in uniform and sit in the stands cheering loudly and respectfully. One section of the stadium is reserved for the military cadets. It is a sight to behold. It shouts of dedication and commitment. To see these young men and women in uniform is most inspiring. Then these young men and women cadets witnessed the purpose of their lives by seeing these older air force veterans be honored for their bravery and commitment. As I observed all of this, I felt much emotion and deeply grateful.

Whenever a man or woman lives their lives in total commitment to Higher Ideals, those who observe them can be inspired to further dedication and commitment in their own personal lives.

Each of us is flawed. We can fall short of living up to our ideals and to the goals we may have set for ourselves. It is part of the human situation. We need models and heroes who can inspire us to return to becoming our best self.

There are moments in life when someone will inspire us by their dedication and courage. Good mentors and heroes practice what they profess. Observing this helps each of us to make better efforts to put into action what we profess. This stadium seemed to radiate this to me.

Right before the football game I observed a young man giving money to very poor and fragile man who just happened to be standing alone, looking lost and weak.

Heroes help the lost and weak. Mentors kindly help those who ask for help. Dedicated men and women of our military profess to help the rest of us by their willingness to protect us.

I am convinced that the greatest commitments and ideals in life are put into practice by those who bring kindness and compassion toward others. We protect one another by our kindness, dedication and compassion. Those who serve in the military protect us by their willingness to serve. It isn't the bombs that are dropped or the battles which are fought that really protect us. It is the willingness to serve and defend, the energy spent in preparation for this and the generosity and willingness to give one's life for someone else that really protects and saves. It is the idealism, the courage and compassion of our military men and women that sends out positive energy into the world which inspires each of us to do the same. That idealism, courage and compassion is present in all of us. We simply need to help one another live by our actions.

During this afternoon's football game I noticed that everyone was kind to one another. There were many Notre Dame fans in this military stadium. All were treated with respect and kindness. It was actually quite enjoyable seeing those wearing Irish green sitting side by side with those wearing Air Force blue. All got along and respected one another.

I personally conclude that this happened because everyone had an awareness that in this stadium there was a sense of dedication, compassion and respect for one another. Maybe this is the best weapon we have to make this world a more loving and safe place. I don't know how others felt but I left this stadium with a sense of dedicating my life more deeply to bringing more compassion and respect toward everyone I meet.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage & family therapist and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Tue, Oct 29, 2013