Lessons Observed and Learned from Radar O’Reilly


Vol. 21 •Issue 3 • Page 50
Healthy Living

Lessons Observed and Learned from Radar O’Reilly

I have found it a tremendous experience to reacquaint myself with the TV series M.A.S.H., through reruns, of course. I have been watching each show carefully recently, especially the ones which include the great young man from Ottumwa, Iowa—”Radar” O’Reilly.

I think we all can learn much from Radar, and here are a few of my thoughts.

First of all, you do not have to be a “high ranking” member of a company, organization or department to be truly a main cog. I believe Radar set the tone for the efficiency, morale and togetherness for the entire M.A.S.H. unit despite his lowly rank of corporal. He accomplished those elusive goals by being himself and endearing himself to others in the unit by allowing his “frailties” to be shared and exposed. He provided a great lesson for all of us to follow.

There are plenty of examples from the series. In one episode, he thought he lost his teddy bear and others in the M.A.S.H. unit helped him through the crisis. People will generally help you, if you are not afraid to ask, and that was the lesson learned. What a monumental principle of human behavior and teamwork that episode showed.

Radar always was loyal to his family and roots, despite the craziness of war. He often would talk about his relatives: farm folk like his Aunt Edna and Uncle Ed.

Even when he was away at war, Radar carried people in his heart. And guess what? So can you.

Radar earned his nickname for his ability to hear incoming helicopters loaded with the wounded long before others did, and he knew what people would say and do before they ever did it. What I have learned is to never underestimate the powers and influence of any person just by their background and demeanor.

I think Radar was really an angel allowed to help out the 4077th M.A.S.H. unit. Do any of you angels in your life that you might not have thought were angels?

Here’s another lesson of life: Radar did not have to have to drink what everyone else was drinking to fit in with a group. He loved his grape Nehi soda, and people eventually grew to love him for that.

Perhaps we need to think about maintaining our own individuality despite “pulls” from other directions. Radar also grew internally as time went on. In fact, he had a defining moment when he actually “talked back” and expressed his opinion to Hawkeye after Hawkeye lambasted him.

We can all grow as people; and often it is when situations really test us. That’s the lesson here. Sometimes you need to trust your ability to do whatever it takes to survive and grow and let people know what you think.

Radar was the glue that held the unit together. Maybe you are the glue in your department.

And finally, Radar had a great sense of humor and was able to recover from the loss of his good friend Colonel Blake and find new solace and “family” with Colonel Potter. And if you remember, it was Radar who had to step up and announce the death of Henry Blake over the loudspeaker to the entire M.A.S.H. unit. What courage. I believe we all have that reserve of courage.

I have learned you need to take great pride every day in your work just like Radar did. Doing so makes it feel good to be alive, and it allows others to help when life throws a curveball. Again, remember Radar eventually had to return home because of a family illness and Klinger stepped in to replace him.

Radar’s shoes were hard to fill, but because Radar was willing to teach him the ropes of the job, Klinger was able to function in his place. You need to help others. This is a lesson to be remembered. You need to leave your world a better place by being a class act. Be the Radar O’Reilly of your health care setting.

Whatever you do, enjoy the journey and make every day count.

Steve Sobel is a motivational speaker, humorist and author. He can be reached at info@drstevesobel.com or (800) 874-1789.

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