“Come back with your shield – or on it.”
Many of us will recognize the above statement from the movie 300. Scholars believe Spartan mothers used it as their sons departed for battle. Not in a malice way but encouragingly and lovingly. The value and implementation of this type of warrior spirit in today’s culture are missing, and its essence is needed more than ever. Re-invigorating the warrior sprit, however, takes comprehension and discipline.
After nine combat tours serving this great nation and blessed with a wife that possess the warrior spirit, I believe a fitting translation for the Spartans mothers cry is merely this.
“You will face trials of many kinds in life; I expect that you will give it everything you have.”
This is a far cry from the Lawn Mower Parents of today’s culture. Learn more about lawnmower parents here.
Several archetypes typify the overprotective and enabling but seldom do we hear about the warrior archetypes. I believe its due in significant part to fear and a lack of understanding of how the warrior archetype is a benefit to society as a whole. These are severe roadblocks to fostering the warrior archetype and defeating these roadblocks is not an easy task.
I have fought many battles throughout my children’s upbringing to instill the warrior spirit in them. Numerous times overwhelming resistance against the principals of the warrior spirit has won the day. Even when fought with sobering reality and solid reasoning both my wife and me have failed to change the outcomes of how events transpire. I offer the following story.
Once, we argued to keep score at my son’s baseball games. He was playing on a city league for ages under nine. We pointed out the fact that the boys were keeping score and knew when they were winning or losing. We were agreed with but denied. Instead, the coach and parents pretended that everyone was a winner even when some of the boys were visibly upset that they lost. I couldn’t figure out which was worse. Denying the boys their true feelings or acting so ignorant in the face of truth. Regardless, the ability to foster warrior principals like engaging in a common struggle and to honor others when defeated was lost. Many see this story as an unrelated petty issue, and I disagree.
Something for Nothing
As I have already mentioned the warrior spirit is suppressed by not keeping score during sports, and everyone receives a trophy mentality, but there are many others. Consider:
• Our education system that passes students regardless of their ability.
• Our legal system that allows irresponsible suits for those that do not take responsibility for their actions.
• Our leaders managers and officials that use their position to serve themselves.
Every one of these activities is outside the warrior principals and unfortunately reinforced hourly.
Hundreds of times a day we are bombarded by media campaigns that promote something for nothing or wealth and happiness because its deserved. The media is not the only entity that supports these anti-warrior ideals. The disturbing thing is that each in their own way weaves a common thread in the messaging. They all encourage and support the victimization and entitlement mentality. Both victimization and entitlement are defeatist attitudes that the warrior can not embrace. The warrior spirit guards against any assurance that there will be an easy day. The warrior understands that every day is a new day regardless of yesterdays success.
When the warrior spirit is understood and embraced, it materializes more resilient productive leaders, employees, and youth. The warrior spirit is the anti-establishment of entitlement and victimization. Even with these positives, we must guard against some common risk.
Without an understanding of the warrior spirit values, we cannot instill it nor correct it when it strays. Deprived of the values and valor that create an honorable and loving warrior spirit the ideals become distorted and eventually destroyed. When the principals of the warrior spirit are destroyed individuals justify activities that cause hate giving rise to gangs and terrorists.
Terrorists and gangs serve only themselves. Their purpose is a twisted mindset of “we against everyone” and uses immoral violence to create outrage and fear. They reinforce their resolve through unfounded self-pity and encourage civil disobedience. Both are clearly outside the selfless service and empathy inherent of the warrior spirit. Warriors do not let self-pity influence how they act or interact with others.
Without understanding the warrior spirit, we increase the follower mentality absent of critical thinking which encourages acceptance without searching for truth. Without the firm resolve possessed by a warrior, thought police are emboldened to bully those that may have different ideas or beliefs. The warrior spirit can hold a thought without accepting it. This ability is at the heart of the warrior thought process and is a strong defense against acting out irrationally against differing values and beliefs.
Warriors protect those that they love and defend the right of the collective in which they are to protect. This is true even if the collective they are charged with safeguarding has contempt for them. A warrior’s valor is driven from the following principals:
• Values self-sacrifice and endures hardships.
• Engages decisively against authority when needed.
• Is cautious of anyone that tells a story from a removed perspective.
• Warriors seek to simplify the difficult and drive to the core quickly without prejudice.
• Recognize injustice and oppression and intervenes with deeds.
• State “Here I am. Send me!”
• Willing to give their life for another.
• Harbors no malice towards a defeated enemy.
• States truth without regard to personal gain.
• Practices restraint and patience.
How few warriors we genuinely have that understand the concept of the warrior spirit fully. Instead, we have numerous fake warriors that kneel or stand before others in a public forum declaring “this might be my Rubicon moment.” Other times its falsely personified by leaders when they say “let us go to war” in some twisted ideal of motivating the masses. Utterances like these point out an evident lack of understanding about warfare and the warrior spirit and do not follow the principles above. Unfortunately for these false leaders, there is little hope of reforming them into real warriors.
As a nation we have to instill it in our youth at a young age beginning with keeping score, teaching that success and happiness are not free and failure is not causation for a victimization narrative.
Editor’s Note: Be on the lookout for more posts that expands on the idea of the Warrior Spirit from Chris Schafer. If you resonate with this article, follow the link below to get your copy of Intrepid Professionals today, where you will find more concepts of the warrior spirit.
CHRIS SCHAFER is a retired Green Beret and the COO of Tactical16 Publishing. He is an expert in leadership and business development with 13 years of experience. Chirs Co-Author the book Intrepid professionals. A book that equips executives, managers, entrepreneurs and self-improvement seekers to understand and leverage principles of the military mindset. Chirs has advised foreign militaries, worked in 20 countries, and with numerous U.S. agencies including the FBI and DEA. He resides with his wife and children in beautiful Colorado.
You may also email Chris here, or call him at 719.398.8002.