Mutual Support

Mutual Support. This term has been in my thoughts at various times since our Law School graduation this past weekend, where it was used by the student chosen by the graduating class to speak on their behalf at the ceremony.

Tom, who had a career as both an Air Force and civilian pilot before coming to law school, spoke of his experience as a military pilot. One of the things he learned when he flew in formation, regardless of the size of the formation, was that each pilot had to be able to depend on the other. Each supported, and was supported by, the others and had to be able to count on that support. And that mutual support was necessary; no one could survive on his own without the others. Tom encouraged his colleagues to take that lesson to their own lives, talking about the need to be open both to depending on others in their own need and to being the necessary support for others who were in need.

Mutual support. Inter-dependence. An important concept. Many of us are far more comfortable with the idea of doing something for others than with allowing others to do something for us. Helping others is one thing, but me – I can do it all on my own. It takes some of us longer than others to realize the folly of that way of thinking and to learn that the support needs to go both ways. Real growth requires both that we be there for others and allow others to be there for us. I am grateful to Tom for raising the issue for his graduating class…and as a reminder for all of us.