We are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it. ~Thomas Jefferson
Two weeks ago, I had dinner with a top Naval Officer along with several other mental health professionals. I began advocating for the proactive teaching of mental health and mental fitness. I met with some resistance from the other guests—particularly surrounding the idea that each of us is responsible for our actions. Whereas I do not see this as a controversial idea, to the vast majority of mental health professionals it is. As they resisted I pressed on, harder and harder. I later described my actions as bombastic. Clearly, I stepped on toes. Our host, the Admiral, was very kind, but I feared that all he heard was the sound and fury—but not the message. I wondered what effect my bombast would have on the Admiral and on the initiative to continue the important work of teaching mental health in the Navy—and I expressed my concerns to my wife. As always, her reply was clear and incisive:
Well, that depends upon what kind of man he is. If he appreciates men of principle who will stand on them, he was fine with it. If he wants spineless weenies, then you never had a chance—but of course, you would never be considering trying to get the Navy to focus on mental fitness, either. Instead, you’d be trying to throw pills at the problem. Some things are worth bombast, honey, and trying to save people is worth it. If he can’t appreciate that, your program would never get off the ground no matter how “political” you were.
The essence of this website is this. I hope to be the man that my wife believes me to be. I pray for courage and integrity. And, I hope that my words and my thoughts are as clear, and direct, and incisive as those of my brilliant wife. I do not want to offend the reader or run roughshod over him. My pledge, however, is to pursue the truth and go wherever that will lead. My basic contract is to confront anyone who lies about any important topic. This means, also, that if I lie I expect to be confronted. No matter how you analyze or spin a lie—it is still a lie. And, the truth cannot be spun into a lie.
Bryce Lefever, June 2011