Commentary Search

Resilience through developing a ‘culture of character’

  • Published
  • By Chaplain Capt. Alex Calinisan
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing individual mobilization augmentee
As hurricane season approaches, we are reminded of the need to be prepared to take on the possibility of a disaster. Living in Florida we have become accustomed to the threat of severe weather brewing in the Gulf Coast of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite the uncertainty a storm system brings to an area, we have confidence that the advancements in technology and a well-thought-out emergency contingency plan can give us peace of mind that we will be safe.

Just as we can expect storms churning in the ocean waters this year, there also exists the reality of storms arriving in our individual lives.

Recent events in the news remind us that regardless of socioeconomic status, educational attainment or organizational position, storms are no respecter of persons. Each of us is either in, just coming out of or about to hit a life storm. The time to prepare for these storms should not be after they have arrived. Now is the time to cultivate and develop our resilience.

Preparing for the storms of life requires each of us to participate in developing what I like to call, "a culture of character" - which plays a key role in building up our resilience as individuals and as a society.

Character plays an immense role in a person's ability to take on life's storms. Character traits such as responsibility, perseverance, self-discipline, integrity, honesty and respect must be ingrained into our everyday activities. When systematically practiced during the good times, they will guide our responses during life's tough seasons. These character traits, however, are not natural to most. They are an acquired skill requiring each of us to purposefully and deliberately practice them.

So how can we personally develop this "culture of character" in our workplaces? First, we must accept the reality that tough times are just around the corner. Each day of life allows us the opportunity to work on building resilience.

It would be arrogant to think we have reached the highest possible level of resilience. There is always room to grow.

Second, we must cherish those who matter the most to us. Whether it is our immediate family, friends or our fellow Airmen, strategically investing our time to develop a culture of character in our interactions with those we cherish makes our relationships more resilient.

Third, celebrating our spiritual traditions on a regular basis reminds us of our personal core values. As we come together with others with similar spiritual beliefs, we find meaning and purpose in something greater than ourselves.

Finally, to truly develop a culture of character we must move past our own needs and join causes or ministries that serve the greater good. By volunteering at a shelter, a school or a faith-based initiative, we become the change agents in molding a culture of character.

When we serve others our influence has a ripple effect, and we can watch our actions make a difference in someone else's life. Serving others out of a resilient heart tethered in faith and purposeful relationships gives our lives value and meaning - changing our culture one person at a time.