Can I get a handclap?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Jaime L. Capps
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — You may have heard the song by Fitz and the Tantrums and seen the trending “Lemme get two claps and a Ric Flair” YouTube videos, and I know you’ve definitely heard my version. Cue the eye-roll: You probably think I’m a “hugger” too. That’s not exactly right though.

I wasn’t always like this. I used to be Ms. Air Force Instruction, and I even have the binders to prove it. There are too many to count, and my husband likes to tell me every permanent change of station move that I’m a borderline hoarder. I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, that references will always be there, and there is no paragraph to instruct or guide encouragement.

Someone once told me there are three things in life that leave and never return: words, time and opportunities. That really resonated with me. As a leader, I believe it’s important to recognize when your team needs handclaps; they need someone to believe in the hard work they continually put in.

I’m not going to make it seem like I don’t have challenging days just like you — I do. Serving isn’t easy, and it’s not supposed to be. Our jobs demand excellence, and our families demand our resilience. Serving means showing up prepared to work every day, and when your shift is over, it’s showing up at home prepared to be there for your spouse, children, fur babies and even friends.

On the days that are serious and sometimes even sad, I like to remember a two-minute hallway conversation with a flight commander that included a handclap and a piece of paper that simply read “marvel at how often things go right.” Seventeen years later, I still have that piece of paper in my planner.

I don’t have a fancy acronym for you to remember, but I do have some handclaps for all the sacrifices you continue to do for our Air Force. I’m proud to serve with you all day, every day.