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💣 From killing to kindness: How archenemies became BFFs

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Took my kids rock climbing last night and I tell you what, few things in this world are cooler than seeing a child overcome fear and realize they’re capable of more than they imagined. Seriously inspiring!

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⚡️ Estimated read time: 3 minutes 46 seconds.


Soldier and pilots


Before we get to talking about the bombs, missiles, and samurai swords, you should know that the only book my kids wanna read at night is Go Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman.

My 4-year old can’t actually read yet, but she’s memorized all 72 pages.

Her favorite parts are the 4 seemingly random interactions between two unnamed, hat-wearing dogs.

Each time they show up, the red dog asks the yellow dog if he likes her hat:

P.D. Eastman

“Hello, do you like my hat?”

And every time, he doesn’t.

P.D. Eastman

“No, I do not like your hat.”

And they both calmly walk away with a civil “Goodbye” each time.

Except the last time.

P.D. Eastman

“I do like your hat!”

For some bizarre reason, he likes this monstrosity of a hat.

And I think that’s beautiful.

Mainly because I love seeing how these two dogs never lost their sense of civility despite repeated disagreement, and didn’t let a prior disagreement determine a future one.

Which reminded me of two stories of would-be killers who became true friends with their almost victims.

The first was Nobuo Fujita.

Nobuo Fujita

In World War II, there was exactly one time a foreign pilot dropped a bomb on the continental United States — and it was attempted by Nobuo Fujita over Brookings, Oregon.

I say “attempted”, cause Oregon is so wet the bomb literally just fizzled and smoked in the woods until the local fire department put it out.

Fast forward 20 years.

It’s 1962, and local chamber of commerce president, Bill McChesney, decides to invite the bomber to be an honored guest in their town festival.

Not only did he come, but he also brought his wife, son, and their 400-year-old family heirloom samurai sword.

At this point, I thought they were gonna say he went all ninja on the town to finish what he started 20 years ago… thankfully I was wrong!

Instead, he gave the sword (easily his most prized posession in life) to the town of Brookings as a symbol of peace and of his gratitude.

Nobuo Fujita’s Samurai sword

Unbelievable, right?

Wait till you hear about Lt. Col. Dale Zeiko.

Lt. Col. Dale Zeiko

As he was flying his F-117 Nighthawk toward Belgrade, Serbia for a “humanitarian intervention” to protect ethnic Albanians, he saw a surface-to-air missile locked in on his aircraft.

The first missile was a near miss… but the second exploded at his wing, sending his Nighthawk spiraling.

As soon as he ejected, Dale says 3 things popped in his head:

  • His mom

  • His daughter

  • Imagining casually telling the man who just obliterated his aircraft, “nice shot!”

Can you even imagine thinking anything other than “I’m gonna hunt you down and gut you like a fish!”?

But Dale didn’t stop his happy thoughts there.

Years later, Serbian commander Zoltan Dani (the man who shot him down) reached out to him asking if they could meet.

They became immediate pen pals a few years later were finally able to meet in person with their families over coffee and pastries.

After this unlikely reunion, Dale was once asked “After developing a real personal relationship between the families, could you go back in a combat machine against Serbia?

Without hesitation, he replied “Absolutely not; that would be impossible. You can no longer remove the human element from it."

So whether you disagree in fashion, or you’ve exchanged missiles and bombs, there’s no reason you can’t be friends with those who think wildly different than you do.

This world could use a double-dose of civility.

But this world doesn’t change as a whole.

It changes as millions and billions of individual people do.

And like any problem to be solved, it starts with you practicing a new behavior until it becomes a habit of civility.

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Try it

  1. Next time you disagree with someone, relax. It’s okay! Remember it doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends or agree on many other things.

  2. Create space for safe disagreement by saying something like “It’s ok if we think different. Let’s agree to be friends at the end of the conversation, and keep talking to see where this goes.”

  3. Also practice seeing things from their point of view and try looking for what you have in common. This doesn’t eliminate the disagreement, but identifying with their human-ness helps keep you from thinking they’re a horrible person for thinking different than you do.



Even when the world beats you down, you Can’t Give Up (song)

🫣 Why can’t kids these days handle uncomfortable situations? (Reel)

🤷‍♂️ Nothing changes if nothing changes (3 min video)

💼 Are most “Samaritans” just too busy to be good? (3 min read)



Wife: Eat like civilized children please!

4-year-old: What does civilized mean?

Me: It means respectful

4-year-old: No it doesn’t! It means fridge. And plate. And babies. And glasses. Leaves. Trees. Chicken. Forks. So many things!



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- Kody


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P.S. This took 3 hours to research and write. It only takes you 3 seconds to share.

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