What Officer Daniel Kaffe, Lt. Sam Weinberg, and Colonel Nathan R. Jessup Taught Me About Life

In my early teen years, I watched A Few Good Men obsessively (might have had something to do with Tom Cruise and Noah Wyle) to the point that I could recite the lines as I watched (I’m annoying to watch this movie with).

The story line is straight-forward: two Marines accused of murder. They are appointed a young lawyer who has never taken a case to trial. He prepares the case with two other attorneys and gets the Colonel to admit he was behind the Marines’ actions. Trying a case is as simple as that.

That may be the plot, but at the heart of A Few Good Men is a young lawyer and the high standards set by a successful father. While my father wasn’t the Attorney General of the United States, as a young kid, I could identify. My dad had high expectations for himself which he had surpassed. I knew I was supposed to do the same thing.

All that watching may not have been in vain. Here are 12 Life Lessons from A Few Good Men:

  1. I’d choose you any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Choose to surround yourself with the people that love you and believe in you (and conversely those that you love and believe in). Life is too short spent with anyone else.

2.  I eat breakfast 300 yards away from 400 Cubans who are trained to kill me. 

Be fearless. Don’t let the enemy intimidate you. Keep working toward your cause and goals.

3. Are we clear? Yes. Are we clear? Crystal.

Communicate clearly. Be specific about what you want in life. State it and ask for it.

4. Answers still have to come much faster.

Delivery is just as important as the words to convey competence and credibility.

5. I get sick when I fly because I’m afraid of crashing into a large mountain. I don’t think Dramamine’ll help.

Know the root of your problems. Otherwise you’ll be treating it with the wrong solution. And it won’t fix a thing.

6. You’re God damn right I did!

Don’t be afraid to own your mistakes.

6. Kaffee: I don’t understand. How did you know where the mess hall was if it’s not in this book?

Cpl. Barnes: Well, I guess I just followed the crowd at chow time, sir.

There won’t always be instructions but use your common sense and you’ll be able to figure it out.

7. I’m a lawyer, and an officer in United States Navy, and you’re under arrest you son of a bitch.

Stay your course, know your values, know your integrity. Because people will sway from their’s.

8. ’cause they stand on the wall, and they say, ‘Nothing’s gonna hurt you tonight. Not on my watch.’

The brave care for and help others.

9.  I strenuously object.

There will be moments of defeat. Know went to take your lumps and move on.

10. I need my bat. I think better with my bat. Where’s my bat?

Know what focuses you.

11. Go see your wife and daughter. 

Know your priorities and take time for them.

12: Is your father proud of you?…I’ll bet he is. I’ll bet he bores the sh^& out of neighbors and relatives. ‘Sam’s made law review. He’s working on a big case right now. He’s arguing. He’s making an argument.’

Isn’t that what we all want to do?

Happy Father’s Day!

xo,

LVC

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