The idea behind establishing the Lombard Ranger values; Respect, Responsibility and Toughness was to provide a solid foundation for which all lessons and guidance could be built upon. These three immensely strong yet simple values, which I believe to be universally understood, act as easily discernible beacons in which to reference while navigating any lesson or challenge.
After being taught through my childhood the “6 Pillars of Character” then right into the “7 Army Core Values” of my young adulthood, as well as countless other values training platforms from every organization I have belonged, I felt overwhelmed with the foggy and overlapping terms of virtue by which I was supposed to live. After giving thought to the words in the Pillars of Character, and the Army Core Values, I found myself associating terms without being convinced they were different enough from one another to all warrant mention. Duty and Responsibility for instance in the Army Core values. Respect, Fairness and Trustworthiness from the Pillars of Character. These terms can certainly be reduced without being over simplified. I started feeling like these organizations were more concerned about coming up with clever acronyms (T.R.R.F.C.C. for Character Counts, and L.D.R.S.H.I.P. for the Army) then actually passing on the generational wisdom of our culture. Now, I’m sure years of psychological and behavioral research, committee meetings and approval processes are behind these two programs, but that just leads me to think they are probably too complex and convoluted to be as effective as the organizations think they are. My goal was to boil down the ideas behind these terms into what I view as the most useful virtues one can have, in service of overcoming the ultimate challenge, self improvement.
When referring to self improvement, I am speaking of soul work, true dragon slaying, the spiritual battle inside every one of us. It is a concept unbound by culture, religion or geographical location. It is a concept that underlines the very existence of civilization.
Teaching boys and young men that this struggle is the one that sorts out all other struggles is not easy. Most problems in our lives initially appear to be external things that we are victims of. This is not the truth. When a person sees their self as a victim, they put their self at the mercy of chaos in exchange for temporary sympathy. When a person learns to respect chaos for what it is and understand the things they can and can’t control, they seem to find a calm within their self. This is the universal goal, inner peace, transcendence, balance.
Through my experience I have found the most effective values to anchor oneself to are Respect, Responsibility and Toughness.
Respect is how you think of things. It is the mind. Thinking of all things in a manner which gives them dignity, with positive energy towards their right to exist is completely under a persons control. All things must be offered this type of thought, whether you agree with them or not.
Responsibility is how you choose to act. It is the mind manifested in the physical world. It is body. It includes speech as well as action. Choosing to speak and act in a manner that is consistent with how you think of things, with positive energy and respect, is also completely under ones control.
Toughness is what carries you through the journey. It is spirit. It is the power of indomitable will. It takes toughness to be resilient in maintaining positive thought. It also takes toughness to push your body through difficult physical action. How tough a person is again is completely under their control.
Be respectful to everyone and everything, because you are responsible for your actions no matter how you feel. Be tough, excepting responsibility for all your actions, good and bad, it won’t be easy.
It is the responsibility of men to teach these virtues to boys and young men. The way to teach them is not only through word, but more effectively through deed. The goal of the Lombard Rangers is develop virtuous character in men and boys through service to the community.