Building your personal chimney

  • Published
  • By Col. Kelvin D. McElroy
  • 512th Maintenance Group commander
Recently, while sitting in a class on resiliency, I listened to a facilitator use the four pillars of a building to demonstrate how to cope with life. At that moment, I recalled how my father taught me at a young age in a similar manner. When I would approach him with a situation that hadn't turned out as I had planned, he would say, 'Son there are two things you can't do in life: build a chimney from the top or drive a car from the rear.' As I matured and my problems began to mature as well, I finally understood what my father meant.

Although popularized as the way that Santa Claus enters a house to deliver Christmas presents, the real purpose of a chimney is to safely vent ash and gases from a house. Most chimneys are made of brick and masonry or of metal, and they can be attached to fireplaces, furnaces or stoves. Regardless of the material, it is important that a chimney be built correctly to prevent damage to the house. After learning how important a chimney is to a house with a fireplace, I now know exactly what my father was doing - teaching me how to be resilient.

With that said, here are some things to consider when building or remodeling your personnel chimney: The fireplace (heart) of your home (body) helps you steer the wheel on the road in your journey through life. You need a chimney so the smoke (stressors) from the burning wood (life) can leave your home. You can't hire a professional to do this job for you, but with determination you can build your own chimney. Here are some basic things to consider when building your personnel chimney:

· As when building an actual chimney, you must take a look at the big picture and plan accordingly. The chimney must appropriately fit your home. When building your personal chimney, keep the situation in perspective. Seek out the resources relative to the size of the situation you're going through. The Chapel has a wealth of information based on your religious affiliation.

· Just as an actual chimney requires the proper foundation and support, building your personal chimney will require you to build an established foundation. Your family, friends, and your Air Force unit are extended all around you to provide that established foundation.

· The actual chimney structure must be built in a way that keeps it away from combustible materials on all sides. Therefore, remember when building your personal chimney, to do your best to stay away from negative thinking or actions, as those can also be considered combustible materials. Stay positive.

· Take care to properly outfit the chimney to your home to withstand rapid temperature fluctuations. To properly outfit your personal chimney, take necessary steps to take care of yourself - mentally, physically, spiritually and professionally. Exercise is a great stress reliever.

Finally, one additional thing my father taught me about resiliency, awareness and dealing with any situation - always look to your right and your left, but every now and then, look up.