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  1. What is Spiritual Fitness? Leader: Read and discuss these expectations with your Soldiers • SPIRITUAL FITNESS IS NOT NECESSARILY ABOUT RELIGION. • Your personal beliefs and values may include religion but they may not. • Spiritual fitness develops the personal qualities needed to sustain a Soldier in times of danger, hardship and tragedy • The Army expects you to live by Army values, which are the moral foundations of good citizenship and character • Spiritual qualities form the basis of character, decision-making and INTEGRITY (FM 1-05, paragraph 1-14) • Chaplains are NON-DENOMINATIONAL and highly experienced counselors Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar

  2. Components of Spiritual Fitness Leader: Discuss these expectations with your Soldiers • Spiritual fitness is strengthening a set of beliefs, principles or values that sustain a person beyond the support of Family and friends. • socially, culturally and legally acceptable • engage in activities that strengthen character and values • strengthen inner-self to build confidence • Think about your behavior and attitude and its effect on others • maintain a positive attitude toward self and others • seek out a community that provides support and guidance Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar

  3. Unhealthy Spiritual Fitness Behaviors Leader: Review unhealthy behaviors with your Soldiers A Soldier with unhealthy behaviors: • has little or no interest in anything positive • makes no future plans and becomes isolated • hesitates to act • makes poor decisions • is defensive and/or judgmental • may strike out at those who are different • feels lost and/or hopeless • has conflicting values • lives in fear and anxiety Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar

  4. Unhealthy Spiritual Fitness Scenario Leader: Read the following scenario You are SSG Murphy. You are currently deployed in Afghanistan. A Soldier in your Platoon, PFC Kelly, was involved in a vehicle rollover caused by an IED. PFC Kelly was medically evacuated in serious condition. The status of the Soldier is unknown. The platoon was notified and morale is low. You’re about to go out on a combat patrol in the same area of operation and you notice that your squad is grief stricken due to what happened to PFC Kelly. Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar

  5. Scenario – The Problem Leader: Discuss some things that you might do in this situation to help the squad. Bottom Line Up Front: Spiritual fitness is anything in your life that guides you to do good. The definition of spirituality is broad and may vary depending on who you ask. Beliefs can shape your actions and become a source of comfort and strength. Every Soldier has an array of abilities that they bring to the table. Some Soldiers’ strengths are others weaknesses. Effective leaders build upon Soldiers’ weaknesses by pairing them with Soldiers who are stronger in specific areas (ie. Leadership). Research has identified 24 Character strengths that are universal across time and cultures. Knowing and using character strengths and the character strengths of others can maximize our ability to handle adversity and make up for weaknesses. Soldiers and Leaders can identify their top character strengths by taking the VIA Survey of Character Strengths survey at: Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar Page 5

  6. Scenario – “Strength of Character” Leader: Discuss the character strengths below then discuss which strengths would be needed to help SSG Murphy’s Squad perform well on the mission. 24 Character Strengths Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar • Curiosity and interest in the world • Love of learning • Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness • Creativity, ingenuity, and originality • Perspective (wisdom) • Bravery and valor • Industry, diligence, and perseverance • Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness • Zest, enthusiasm, and energy • Humor and playfulness • Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith • Capacity to love and be loved • Kindness and generosity • Social intelligence • Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty • Fairness, equity, and justice • Leadership • Forgiveness and mercy • Modesty and humility • Caution, prudence, and discretion • Self-control and self-regulation • Appreciation of beauty and excellence • Gratitude • Hope, optimism, future-mindedness Page 6

  7. Scenario – “Strength of Character” Leader: Have Soldiers identify the strengths they see in each other and/or have them name a great leader and identify the strengths the leader has. Of the character strengths, signature strengths are who you are when you are at your best. When you use these strengths you feel: • True to oneself: A person with a top Character Strength of Bravery and valor feels he or she is being himself or herself when he or she acts bravely. • Energized: After using your Character Strengths you feel energized and ready for more rather than depleted. If your top Character Strength is Love of learning, you feel energized by attending a complex lecture; if it is not your top Character Strength you might feel tired or depleted. • Motivation to use: We don’t need to be reminded to use a top Character Strength. Someone with a top Character Strength of Humor and playfulness has humor and playfulness flow out of them; they don’t need to be reminded to be funny or playful.No one has to tell Chris Rock to be funny; no one had to remind Mother Teresa to show compassion. Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar

  8. Strength of Character “Strengths of character” are essential for resilience. You can be a more effective Soldier by identifying your character strengths and pulling from them to overcome challenges because knowing your character strengths and the character strengths of others adds value to knowledge of skills and talents. Faith in ones character strengths, talents, and abilities, and how to use them will help Soldiers overcome challenges and meet their goals Hunt the good stuff:Positive people think positively. Focusing on positive experiences leads to an optimistic way of thinking. Encourage your Soldiers to share a positive experience that they have had since last drill. (Open discussion) Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar

  9. Scenario – Battle Buddy Aid Leader: Ask about responsibility of Battle Buddies and how they can assist in the situation and review ACE • How could the Soldiers of the squad help each other in this situation? • Draw upon personal strengths to motivate each other. • Showing each other support and being aware that people cope differently. • How could SSG Murphy help the squad in this situation? • Take the time and talk it through • Support the squad according to his signature strengths. • Remember ACE *(any stressful situation can lead to suicidal behavior) • Ask what you can do to assist the Soldier in succeeding. • Care enough to listen and provide support. • Escort the Soldier to resources or be one yourself as a positive influence. DO YOU HAVE AN “ACE” CARD? * The ACE process guides us to assist the Soldier. Have the courage to act on behalf of a fellow Soldier. Never assume that everything is good to go until you have checked. Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar

  10. Healthy Spiritual Fitness Behaviors Leader: Ask your Soldiers to think of good spiritual fitness habits • A Soldier who exhibits healthy spiritual behavior: • has strong network of Family and friends • adapts to situations and has a clear direction of what is right and what is wrong • plans for the future and helps others • takes time to think about direction in life • thinks about how their actions affect others • has RESPECT forothers • works to achieve objectives and goals • listens to and watches out for their Battle Buddy • has self-esteem Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar

  11. Available Resources Leader: Reviews available resources and remind Soldiers that seeking them is not a sign of weakness but part of fitness • NYARNG Family Programs Office, (877)715-7817 or • Director of Psychological Health (DPH), (518)396-8993 • Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC), (518)925-4302 • Military OneSource (NYARNG Representative), (518)265-2901 • Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), (518)786-4734 • State Chaplain’s Office, (518)461-2527 • Military OneSource,(800)342-9647 or • Vets4Warriors peer support line, (855)838-8255 / (855)VET-TALK, • Veterans Crisis Line, (800)273-8255 / (800)273-TALK Spiritual (Strength of Character) - Mar