I’ve always been a fan of war movies, whether it was the Bridge Over the River Quai type battlefield movies, or current movies like King Arthur(the one with Clive Owen), or TV series like Band of Brothers.
There exists, a feeling, a common emotion, a ‘something’ that bands people together in situations like this. It’s a shared experience, and almost psychic connection between people that transends words and thought, and reaches the spirit on a level that can’t be described. I’ve read many books and seen lots of shows and movies where this spirit is present. The Seven Samurai, a movie about 7 men who decide to defend a village from raiders – they come to know one another, see each others strengths and weaknesses, and form a cohesive unit, a bond that is strong enough that they can know that the man next to them will do whatever it takes to do his part, to ensure the success of whatever they do, or die in the attempt.
Is it the adrenaline? Is it a respect for one another? I felt some of the same unexplainable thing in my Tae Kwon Do studio with a group of people that I trained with, and later had the privilege of teaching. There was always something there, something that made us push one another, to egg on or goad or embarrass each other to accomplish more and more each time. My biggest success as an instructor was understanding that in situations like this, you bring out the best in people, by displaying the best in yourself. It doesn’t necessarily make you the leader, or the best, or the one in charge. People are inspired by seeing people put their money where their mouth is, by setting the standard high and aspiring to achieve the goals and aspirations they have set for themselves. And in doing so, inspiring others to do the same. I think the mark of a true leader is one who is not necessarily trying to lead, but exhibits true leadership in his actions alone.
I think we do that for our children to an extent. I know that my son listens to every word, and sees everything I do as something he should do, or try to do. This isn’t pompous of me, it’s reality. Sons look to fathers to emulate and to imitate. I have the good fortune to not only have a boy who understands my weirdness, but who wants to be like me, and looks up to me. On the flip side, I know that my daughter loves me to the end of the earth, but is learning different things from me. She’s much more independent and sees my behavior and actions and makes her own decision as to what she’s going to do.
It’s that unspoken bond, that communication between compatriots that I aspire to share with my children and teach them to try as well. Each group in the movies and tv that I’ve spoken of is lead by a true and noble leader, who puts his men’s wellbeing before his own. Its the love towards that person because of this intention that is a beautiful thing whether it’s a Major and his platoon, a Seargeant and his squad, or a father and his children.