Ready and Resilient!
As leaders, we strive to build a physically healthy and psychologically strong force – this includes our Soldiers, family members, and Army civilians – our total Army family. The Army wins if our Soldiers are proficient in their tasks, physically fit, handle stress and adversity well, and live the Warrior Ethos and Army values.
Resilience is the ability to handle challenges, stress, and adversity and still perform well. Soldiers of all ranks must practice skills that build resilience as part of the collective effort to sustain a strong Army team. This includes building strong, resilient families. As leaders we must ensure all members of the Army family are empowered to maximize their potential and face challenges that arise while deployed or at home.
The main program for building resilience is the Army’s Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) Campaign. We know families, who can handle the stress and challenges when their Citizen-Soldier is deployed, attends battle assembly or training, or spends their precious personal time on calls during the month, and perform better. This includes the strength and support of our extended network also. Every Soldier’s situation is unique and support networks come in many flavors. Some Soldiers live with their parents or other relatives, some attend college or may be single and rely on friends, and others have spouses and/or children. Almost everyone relies on a circle of family and/or friends to help them navigate life. Leaders should promote an environment of engagement with their Soldier’s extended support networks. “Family Days” and Foundational Training don’t just have to be about the Soldier and their spouses and children. We should look for opportunities to include extended families, friends, and even employers. They are all part of our Soldier’s support network.
If we foster strong bonds and an environment of trust between the unit, the Soldier, their families, and their extended support networks, then we empower all to weather adversities and help sustain a motivated and engaged Soldier. This is key to a strong Army team where Soldiers want to come to drill, participate enthusiastically, have a strong sense of “we,” and want to continue to serve.
If a Soldier sees you are genuinely trying to do right by them and their family, they will be far more likely to endure hardships in good humor, rather than resent leadership or the Army. Bottom line, if Soldiers see you care, they care. We talk all the time about taking care of Soldiers. This goes beyond making sure they are paid. Comprehensive fitness and resilience is a Total Soldier philosophy. It means keeping them challenged, and engaged, understanding them as an individual, and supporting their unique circumstances, which includes their network and those things they find value and meaning in.
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt