Footsteps in Faith: Army core values need to become a habit, ritual in everyday life

| February 18, 2011 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Theodore P. Valcourt
30th Signal Battalion, 516th Signal Brigade, 311th Signal Command 



Practicing good habits can affect our lives and the lives of others in a positive way.

Having a moral compass and constantly redefining ourselves is paramount.

I once heard that “the largest room in the world is not in a palace or in a mansion. It can only be found in us, and it is called a room for improvement.”

Practicing good habits leads to self-improvement and a disciplined life. In the Army, I was taught the word leadership, spelled L.D.R.S.H.I.P; this rendering is not a misspelling of the word.

Each letter represents one of our core values. They are loyalty, duty, responsibility, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. They are seven words that we use to define what are known as the Army values. Yet, they are just words, until we apply them to our lives and make them habits.

Applying the Army values to our lives makes them our values. They will guide and shape our lives even when we no longer wear the uniform. As well, these seven values, if adopted, enable us to live a life of honor, courage and commitment.

Honor is about the way we conduct ourselves publicly and privately. We ultimately choose, regardless of the situation, if we do what is right. To be guided by moral principles, we must be willing to analyze our motives, accept criticism and seek to learn from those who have personal integrity and ethical principles.

Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Having a strong moral character sets us apart, like the Army’s honor and integrity.

Courage is having the ability to face danger, difficulty and uncertainty. Life can be pretty scary, as we all know, but believing in yourself is vital when it comes to self-improvement.

We are called to do many things that increase stress. We deploy, transition constantly and leave our support systems behind. Being courageous and facing our fears can build our confidence, but also leaves us with some personal challenges, such as post-traumatic stress, relationship problems and problems readjusting.

Selfless service and personal courage help us to remember that we can strengthen ourselves by asking for help and by helping others. That takes courage.

Commitment takes up a lot of our time, because it is an obligation. We have a duty to the military, families, social organizations and ourselves. Being committed is difficult, because you must hold up your end of the bargain — regardless of the situation.

In some cases, we must sacrifice our comforts, time and social lives. Loyalty, duty and responsibility help us to remember that it is not all about us; there is a larger picture. To be committed, we must play our role, give it our all and seek balance in our personal lives.

We are not born honorable, courageous or committed. We can only choose to be so by practicing and developing good habits: actions that we have performed so many times that they have become involuntary responses.

Adopting and living the Army core values is our connection to the past and our hope for a bright future.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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