If you were king for a day…

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Leon Calloway
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — I was a staff sergeant stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, and it was one of the rare occasions in which the wing commander visited our team at the work site.

After we saluted and shook hands, he immediately broke the air of silence with one simple question, “If you were king for a day and could have whatever you want, what would you do or change?”

Recalling, some of the answers, including my own, they all seemed selfish and self-centered: one wanted extended gym hours so he could work out whenever he wanted to; another wanted the base exchange and commissary to be open 24 hours; and still another wanted more days off. My request was for a better golf course with 18 holes and lights for playing at night. Yes, those were our answers: gym, BX, commissary, days off and golf.

There is a story about a king named Solomon who was asked a similar question. Because of his position and his responsibilities, his response was that if he could have whatever he wanted, he wanted wisdom, a “discerning heart to lead people and to distinguish between right and wrong.”

Wisdom is defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement. His heart and vision was toward those he served and being in a leadership position, and he desired to be better equipped to lead and serve them.

After reading this story, I pulled away a couple of nuggets for myself that I will now share with you.

The first part of the question, “if you were king,” deals with position and influencing others, and I realized I was already in a similar position. We simply use different names, like shift leader, crew chief, noncommissioned officer in charge, supervisor, superintendent and Airman. Yes, I believe every Airman, from the lowest to highest ranking, is in a position to influence others. The question is, do you seek or have a desire to do it wisely? When dealing with others and being in a position of influence, do you uphold the standards and do it without bias, prejudice or favoritism?

The second thing I learned is from the last part of the question. “For a day,” deals with a moment of time. Looking back over my career, I realized that although I have permanently changed duty stations seven times, and the positions, duty titles and responsibilities have changed, the opportunity to influence others has been the one constant. At each new assignment and position, I can use my experiences, knowledge and good judgement to properly lead others.

So instead of asking you the question, “If you were king for a day and could have whatever you want, what would you do or change?” I ask that from your current position of influence, you seek to serve with wisdom.