Lt. Gen, Rick Lynch, IMCOM Commander
Given the Army’s 235-year history, resiliency is a relatively new word in our vocabulary. We hear it often nowadays, from the highest levels of leadership on down, as we talk about how we are addressing the effects of nine years of conflict.
There may be a danger that someone will hear the word once too often and tune it out. However, we need to keep talking about it until every member of the Army community hears it and gets the message that we want them not only to survive, but to thrive.
A dictionary definition of resiliency is the ability to recover from misfortune or adjust easily to change. When we in the Army talk about resiliency, though, we are also talking about the ability to realize personal growth and development in the face of challenging situations. Resiliency is rooted in physical, mental and spiritual fitness. It is about finding the balance in your life between work, family and self, and living your dash — the line on the tombstone between the dates of birth and death — to the fullest.
During the last nine years of conflict, our Soldiers, civilians and family members have faced challenging situations, and in too many cases, tragedy. Multiple deployments and too little dwell time have strained our relationships. We can see the stress manifest in rising rates of divorce, domestic violence, suicide and other destructive behaviors.
We have to reverse the trends. We owe it to our Soldiers, civilians and family members to help them build the resiliency they need to cope with their challenges.
Army leaders are making resiliency a priority and a part of Army culture, and have taken a number of steps to assess and build resiliency in our Soldiers, civilians and family members.
One of the initiatives is the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program. The program is designed to enhance the resilience, readiness and potential of Soldiers, civilians and family members by building strength in every area of life: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family.
CSF is mandatory for Soldiers, but geared toward the whole Army community, with components for family members and civilians, as well. Participants begin with the Global Assessment Tool, which measures strength in each of the five areas. The GAT is located at the CSF website, www.army.mil/csf. The results of the assessment direct an individualized training plan, which includes virtual training, classroom training and support from resilience experts.
Other resources that can help Soldiers, civilians and family members build resiliency are the Army Wellness Centers. Like the CSF, the Wellness Centers are focused on prevention and helping individuals identify their problem areas and make positive changes for their health and well-being. Wellness Center programs include metabolic and fitness testing, nutrition education, weight management, stress management and tobacco cessation.
The Army’s focus on resiliency acknowledges that the Soldiers who make up our all-volunteer Army and their family members need and want balance in their lives.
It is easy to get knocked off-balance by the challenges we face, which is why I encourage you to take the time to build your resiliency and find your balance.
As I said, you have to live your dash. For me, the dash signifies not only serving my country, but even more importantly, being a husband and father, and making time for friends. When you are taking your last breath, you are probably not going to wish you spent more time working, but more time doing the things you enjoy and being with the people you love.
Spend time with those important to you, recharge, and ultimately, live your dash well.