Note: Each Thursday I will post a little something to inspire us to finish the week strong. These Thursday Thoughts will be a quote, piece of music, artwork, or inspirational video. Congratulations, you made it over the hump and let’s finish the week together.
What is inspiration? Each Thursday I post something uplifting and positive to urge us all to finish the week strong. I do not feel like it this week. I continue to read Eric Greitens book, “The Heart and the Fist” about man’s inhumanity to man and how one person decided to turn his back on an easy life to become a warrior, a US Navy SEAL to live his life mission and help those who can not help themselves. Eric worked on many relief missions around the world and eventually concluded that we need “the fist” and use force when necessary to truly help those in dire need.
Today we watch the news and hear about the horrors in Syria, the latest example of such profound inhumanity. Where are the world leaders during this time? Leadership has no higher calling.
The philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
Today is Memorial Day in the United States. My writing today is a continuation from my last post about Eric Greitens a US Navy SEAL and humanitarian. I am reading his book titled, “The Heart and the Fist“. Between time with my family and BBQ this weekend I can not get enough of his story. I have perfected the technique of holding my Nook reader in one hand and turning chicken on the grill using my other hand.
By age 21 Eric already spent time on humanitarian missions in both Bosnia and Rwanda. It was the mid 1990′s when both countries experienced horrific violence as their people turned against each other. Eric serves as an example of why compassion for others is such an important trait for leaders. This compassion drives him forward to succeed in everything he approaches.
Eric had an epiphany while in Rwanda that humanitarian efforts are not enough. We need to focus on protecting those people who can not protect themselves against war and violence. This thinking led Eric to join the Navy and become a Navy SEAL (amazing accomplishment on its own). He reached the point of strength combined with compassion.
Here are Eric’s own words to reflect on today, Memorial Day, as we honor those who choose to serve and protect us all.
Yet the basic fact remains: we live in a world marked by violence, and if we want to protect others, we sometimes have to be willing to fight. We all understand at the most basic level that caring requires strength as well as compassion.
I recently read an article written by William J. Bennett who monitors the list of University commencement speakers each year. He is reviewing the trend on the chosen speakers and the message of these speakers. It is a terrific idea Mr. Bennett has here as it can tell us so much about where society stands (at least here in the United States).
The article focused on what he calls, “one of the most original choices” for a commencement speaker. The speaker in question is US Navy SEAL Eric Greitens who spoke at Tufts University this year. Eric is indeed a Navy SEAL and a Rhodes scholar and humanitarian. His message as presented in Mr. Bennett’s article spoke to me and my mission with this blog. Eric through his actions is We Move Together personified. Let me explain through Eric’s own commentary during the commencement speech.
Challenging the new graduates is a standard approach at commencement ceremonies. Eric follows along to challenge, but his message is different. Typically the speaker tells students to “follow your passion” or “dream big”. As Mr. Bennett points out in the article, higher education has turned from “selflessness to self-obsession”.
Eric’ message concerns “sacrifice, to serve one’s country and to live magnanimously”. He calls for the students to “think above and beyond their own dreams and desires … to serve a purpose larger than myself”. Eric recognizes the higher order of leadership … of Servant Leadership. It is not about me. It is about you and us. We Move Together.
“What kind of service can I provide? What kind of positive difference can I make in the lives of others? If you work every day to live an answer to that question, then you will be stronger.”
It is Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. It is a time for us to reflect on and thank the men and women who serve our country through the military both past and present. I for one will do just that this weekend including reading more about Eric Greitens, a man who personifies WeMoveTogether.
Here are some links to learn more:
CNN Article by William Bennett
Eric Greitens Website