Parenting Lessons and Traits Learned From The Military
Being in the military teaches many lessons. There are character traits that are developed, leveraged, and sometimes a few that are squashed as well. For many, the code of conduct they learn while in the military stays with them for a lifetime. Often, it is this code of core values that veterans and active soldiers alike hand down to their children - to help them grow, learn and become better young men and woman. While the lessons and key takeaways from military training are often highly subjective, there is one set of core values that cannot be ignored or forgotten. It is the US Army’s LDRSHIP values.
Let’s take a look at the LDRSHIP principles and how they can be applied to modern-day parenting.
Loyalty: In the military, loyalty is to your country, to the Constitution, the Army, and your unit. But, when we look into loyalty as a parent, obviously the meaning changes. Loyalty to your family is paramount. You commit to yourself and your children. Teaching children to be loyal means teaching them to stand by something through thick and thin.
Duty: Fulfilling your obligations is the essence of duty. However, your duty is also doing what is right in the absence of leadership. There is an internal drive inside each of us that knows what is right. Following that internal beacon is what many consider their “duty.” In parenting, teaching duty as a value means following through with your responsibilities. There may be times when doing the right thing is tough, but it is your duty to follow through with your goal, task, or job.
Respect: Respect transcends all parts of life. Within the military or within the home, respect is something that is earned. You learn to treat people how you wish to be treated. This golden rule is especially relevant when teaching children how to behave. Teaching respect means teaching how to give value to all people and all life.
Selfless Service: In the Army, soldiers put everything else before themselves. Soldiers understand that everyone has a job to do and they understand the importance of their role in relation to the entire team. Selfless service means putting responsibilities ahead of your own initiatives or priorities. In parenting, this can be a harder lesson to teach as children don’t always understand the act of paying something forward, or doing something without expecting anything in return. Nonetheless, this value is critical in helping children understand how to give, be kind, and be generous in an effort to help others.
Honor: Those that adhere to the highest order of values and sense of right and wrong have honor. This trait is often coupled with pride. Having honor means upholding certain ideals, traits, and beliefs. Teaching honor to your children means helping them understand what they believe in, and the reputation they wish to uphold in relation to those beliefs.
Integrity: Honor and integrity go hand-in-hand. Integrity means doing what is right - legally and morally. It means following a set of values to guide you through any situation. Integrity drives character and is core to the person a child will become.
Personal Courage: Facing your fears, whether real or imagined takes courage. Sometimes a person needs to push through their fear in order to achieve greatness and do what is right. When imparting this value upon our children it is important to help them understand that sometimes the hardest, most scary thing to do is the right thing to do.
There are many lessons, values, and traits taught during military training. This is a sample of some of the most followed ideals and values from one branch of our Armed Forces. These core values have been the shining light and guidance for many of our Army veterans and active soldiers for decades. And, they are an excellent guide for parents looking to instill solid character traits in their children.
Written by Brook Appelbaum