While I was working at the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy we would do impromptu questions with the students. One of my favorite questions to ask was about the core values. Core values are internal beliefs and guiding principals. Each military branch has their own set of core values but the intent is to give the members of each service a value structure to internalize and live by.
As much as I liked asking the questions about core values, the answers were often lackluster.
When we would ask about honor, we usually heard something about doing the right thing, especially when no one is looking.
When we asked about courage, we heard about how you need to have integrity.
And when we asked about commitment, we usually learned about how you need to show up to work everyday.
Core values are much more than words we can look up in the dictionary. They are a way to live.
Allie’s Donuts in North Kingston decided to take a stand against racism and injustice. They stopped giving discounts to law enforcement and military because they want to see reform within our law enforcement communities. Making this change caused a lot of anger from some, support from others.
Through all of the noise of people expressing their thoughts on the new policy, I see a donut shop demonstrating more of the core values than some of the men and women who wear or have worn the uniform. Core values that our military is supposed to embody.
Honor– Allie’s donuts is doing the right thing and they are doing it while everyone is looking. The shop has taken a stand against racism and supporting the black community. Standing up for justice is the right thing to do.
Courage– Taking a stand is a risk. When you take a stand you know that some people will not like your action. People will tell you that you are disrespectful. People will say that you are not protesting the right way. It takes courage to take a stand and speak truth to power.
Commitment– Allie’s donuts is showing commitment to a cause by doing more than posting a black square on their social media for #blackouttuesday or saying they support black lives matter. They are committed to change because they are acting.
The core values our military members learn and recite need to be more than just definitions or answers given as part of a board. Core values are tested every time we face a challenge.
There is a saying that you can’t pass a test you never take.
I think right now we have a choice to take the test or sit on the side and watch others take it for us.