Balancing faith, family and force

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Trent Tuthill
  • commander, 55th Contracting Squadron
When I was a brand new lieutenant, a squadron commander tried to explain to me how everything we do can be put into three categories: faith, family and force. I questioned his logic and explanation at the time, but over the years I've found the statement to be true. The challenge we all face is finding the right balance between them. My family and I continually attempt to balance the "3 F's," as I refer to them now. It's a never ending challenge, but it can be done.

Faith is a belief in something bigger than yourself. Faith is being loyal to your duty as an Airman. Faith doesn't have to be religious based, but it can be depending on your individual beliefs. It is trusting that your supervisor has your best interests in mind, trusting our senior leaders are making the right decision or having a general understanding that if you do your job and make good decisions, things will work out. Faith is knowing your Wingman will be there for you in times of need. Faith is having an understanding of the larger Air Force perspective and knowing your day to day job is vitally important to fighting the enemy in any number of places around the globe.

Family are those people you love and cherish every day. Although you might not get to see them everyday, they are constantly in your thoughts. Family is your wife, husband, children, parents, best friend, squadron members, pet and the list goes on. They are there for you, to help you through the tough times and to celebrate those special occasions. Family is your co-workers and supervisors who train you, your sponsor who welcomes you to a new base or those life long friends you make at each different assignment. Family also encompasses enjoying your favorite recreational activity or hobby with friends and neighbors. Family is relaxing with a child or friend after a long day of work and finding out what went on in their day.

Force refers to the Air Force and all the great aspects that go along with the way of life we have embarked upon. Force is that long deployment, unexpected Stripes for Exceptional Performers promotion, the joy of finding out you have made the next rank, or the sorrow of finding out you have a good chance of making it next year. It is the extreme amount of dedication each and every member of the team puts into their job everyday. Force is what keeps the planes flying, performance reports flowing, vehicles in commission, roads paved and clear of snow. It is the never ending list of tasks the superb men and women of the Fightin' Fifty-Fifth and the best Air Force in the world accomplish routinely everyday.

In my mind, the key is finding the correct balance. The priority order of the 3 F's will shift from time to time. There is no magic formula or one-size-fits-all solution. Each individual needs to determine what is important to him or her and then create the right balance. If you find the right balance, at the end of the day you will be extremely proud of what you have done in the Air Force, of where you are in life and eager to take on any challenge or opportunity that comes your way.

Take the time and effort to find the right balance and you'll be happy with the outcome.