Friday, November 04, 2011

Leo Veterans Observance Today - Dr. Barrett on Valor and Resilience

Teenaged Marine in Chosin Reservoir 1950 - 35 degrees below zero and surrounded by twenty Red Chinese Divisions - Resilience?

"Fall seven times and get up eight."

In Dr. Terence W. Barrett's recently published book The Search for the Forgotten thirty-four:Honored by the U.S.Marines, Forgotten in their Hometowns?, the final pages sum up Valor as the ability to bounce back - to face the slings and arrows of outrageous Fortune.

Think of police officers hitting a door; firemen rushing up the stairs of every flaming building, a young mother in the throes of labor, any ER nurse, a Com Ed high wire electrician up a utility pole in an electrical storm and think of what most of us call stress. The cable's out. Gas is $ 3.65. Take another good look at that photo above. That kid, if he lived, is now approaching 80 years of living. That boy, frozen, scared, without sleep, and very hungry is resilient. He's on his feet. I believe that he handled the balance of his life with grace and dignity, if he lived past the days ahead of him.

The Outrage of combat is the ultimate test of human resilience. I used to tell my wrestlers that toughness was not determined by how much pain one could dish out, but how much one could endure in order to win. It is so much more than that.

In his study of the lives and the heroic action of American heroes, Dr. Barrett presents human resilience and the psychology of dealing with stress. Fear is merely an adjunct of stress. Resilience, the ability to get back into the fight has a psychology all its own. Barrett explains "resilience is more than managing encounters with stress or harsh experience. Resilience is the ability to adapt in spite of it, to adapt positively in spite of it, and to grow from it. Resilience is identified . . . as part attitude(or thought),and part ability: a blending of strength, endurance and adaptibilty. Resilience develops over time, likely associated to the encounters with realistic and reasonable stresses, and what might be called diligent striving. A persons learns to manage. And once a child learns to manage, he or she will tend to remain resilient across a lifetme."

Barrett goes on to study diligent striving and notes that those men studied in this book demonstrated extraordinary resiliency. They did not wait for events to shape them.

Today, Leo High School will be graced with presence of scores of WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan heroes. Resilient men and women.

Our students will witness what it takes from those how most surely did.

If they fall, they will get up again. The alternative is unacceptable. Facta Non Verba - Deeds Not Words.

God Bless Our Veterans.

Click my post title to link to the pages on Resilience by Dr. Barrett

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