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FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK: Start your day right – make your bed

Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 9:12 am

I stumbled across a video on Facebook last week that hit me right in my spirit.

My family will tell you that I’m a “bed Nazi.” I like for my bed to be made. Leaving the house for the day, with the bed unmade, is a very uncomfortable proposition for me.

It isn’t that I literally can’t sleep if I enter the bedroom at night and the bed is unmade, but my OCD doesn’t allow me to sleep as well.

By Josh Peterson, publisher

So, with that said, last week I stumbled across a video on Facebook that actually originated in 2014. It was U.S. Navy Admiral William H McRaven delivering a commencement speech to the University of Texas and he focused on the importance of simply making your bed. I’m not going to quote his speech word for word, but I’m going to paraphrase just a small portion of it. His message was simple.

McRaven said, “if you make your bed every morning, then you will have accomplished the first task of the day. And it will encourage you to do another task, and another.”
Then he added, “making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right.”

Obviously, this is a man after my spirit. As much as I would like to claim that my overwhelming need for my bed to be neat and tidy is tied to such an undercurrent of self-discipline, that is not it. It is basically my OCD for things to be in a certain place. And I can’t pretend to have the discipline of someone like McRaven.

But regardless of the reason I like for my bed to be neat, I figure it must be a good trait if it’s endorsed by someone like McRaven.

Although my OCD bed perfection is somewhat limited by those around me. I’m reminded of this each time I climb into my neat bed, ready for a perfect sleep, stretch out and my foot hits a foreign material. A lump. A wrinkled, out of place lump. It’s a sock – Holly is known to shed them under the cover and leave them there. If I didn’t know any better, I would think she is deliberately undermining my effort for the perfect bed each night, just to show me that I’ll survive. But she wouldn’t do that… I don’t think.

Meanwhile, as much as I’ve tried to explain to the kids the importance of a nice, neat, made bed each day, the message has yet to hit home (like most kids, I’m sure). So, I thought this video would be the solution. I’ll let someone else deliver the message – a decorated Navy SEAL, would certainly be more persuasive than anything I could say.


“But, but, we aren’t perfect. You want us to make perfect beds?”

No. Just, at least, make an effort, I thought.

Actually, the devil inside me wanted to shout, “absolutely I want you to make a perfect bed. Because just making an effort won’t get you too far in life.”

Don’t worry. I didn’t take it that far. For now I’ll just settle for a comforter thrown over the bed somewhat evenly, and no socks underneath.

–Josh Peterson is the publisher of the Manchester Times. He is a Tennessee Press Association award-winning writer and photographer. His column, “From the publisher’s desk” won TPA first-place honors for best personal humor column and best personal column. The National Newspaper Association named him “Top 30 Under 30” of newspaper professionals in 2016 and Editor & Publisher named him Top 25 Under 35 in 2017. He can be reached by email or by telephone at 931-728-7577 ext. 105. Follow him on Twitter @joshpeterson29