This blog is based on a letter I wrote to my sons on each of their eighteenth birthdays as they began their journeys into Manhood. I called it Manhood instead of adulthood because there is a distinct difference between being a male who is an adult and a male adult who is a Man.
I have broadened the terminology to include both (all) genders by borrowing from the lexicon of Don Juan Mateus and referring to those who have chosen to follow this path ‘warriors’. The warrior’s way is a way of integrity, the ‘war’ is the lifelong conflict we all face between behaving in accordance with a high personal ethical and moral standard and choosing a pattern of behavior, for whatever reasons, that is not.
There are far too many adults who have not taken the path of the warrior; you know them by their ethics, or rather, their lack thereof. Adults who do not behave well are highly visible in our society, to see them you only need to turn on the evening news and you will see adults embroiled in unethical business practices, coercive personal relationships and misuse of power.
People who have taken the path of the warrior are often less visible, in part, because the path of a warrior is often what one doesn’t do. But rather than have a conversation about what not to do, let’s talk about what a warrior does.
A warrior tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him because they know he is honest in his personal and working relationships and, because people value honesty, they will tend to reward that with honesty back to him so he in turn can depend on them. This honesty builds community and leads to peace.
A warrior is true to family, leaders, friends and community. He is true to those above him as well as those below. He does not make preferences based on social order, wealth, power or fame.
A warrior is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without concern for pay or reward. This includes volunteering his time and effort to uplift and aid those in his community as well as those in his family. A warrior puts himself second in relations with others and, trite though it may sound, he knows that there is no ‘I’ in TEAM.
A warrior is a friend to all. He is a brother to all other people. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own. A warrior is blind to color and creed and untiringly seeks fairness, justice, equity and compassion for all other people.
A warrior is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. Good manners are social lubricant they make relationships of all kinds work better and run smoother. He never forgets his ‘yes Ma’am’s’ and ‘no Sir’s’.
A warrior understands there is strength in being gentle. He doesn’t use force or bravado to get what he wants. He engages in honest and fair negotiation and looks for win-win solutions to problems so that everyone walks away satisfied with the solution. He treats others as he wants to be treated, this is the golden rule taught by every philosophy and religion on the planet.
A warrior follows the rules of his family, community and society. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he works to have them changed in a fair and orderly manner rather than disobey them.
A warrior looks at the bright side of life. He cheerfully takes on tasks that come his way. He tries to help others to adopt the same optimistic attitude. This optimistic attitude is expressed in action and word, if he doesn’t have a positive way to express himself he holds his peace until he does.
A warrior works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property. He is generous when there is abundance and when there is want. He donates his skills and money to good causes that help the community, society, the environment and the world.
A warrior is brave and can face adversity even when he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right regardless of the common opinion and he stands for those who are too weak or fearful to stand for themselves.
A warrior is reverent toward God, nature and his own spiritual nature. He is faithful in his spiritual cultivation and duties. He respects the beliefs of others. Even a person who does not believe in God or spirituality will adopt a way of life as though he did.
Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a warrior needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good. That honor, courage and virtue mean everything. That power and money mean nothing. That good always triumphs over evil. That true love never dies. It doesn’t matter if they are true or not, a warrior should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in. And a warrior acts on what he believes in.
Yours in good health,
Robert Kienitz, DTCM