I am an American Soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.
The first time I heard these words I was watching a Basic Training graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, GA. My father was watching as well–from half way around the world. I listened to the sound of four hundred men pledging their lives to each other and to our country, to the last breath if necessary.
That was many months ago, but those words have remained with me. This Soldier’s Creed was different from anything I had heard before. It was an oath, a “relic” seemingly of the age of chivalry.
It was my father who first thought of its practicality. Taking these words, he drafted a “Christian Soldier’s Creed”, an oath specific to himself and our family, designed to hold us accountable to the honor code we live. That was when the versatility of the Soldier’s Creed was revealed.
I am not an American Soldier. I cannot make this oath. However, many of the principles outlined in the Creed are principles that I embrace. If I used the Creed as a framework for my own version, I could apply this ancient tradition of oath-taking to my own life.
Why Everyone Should Have a Creed
A creed is a written or spoken declaration of your beliefs, a guide to your actions. It is not something to be taken lightly. Every word is intended to describe you.
Why should everyone have a creed? The first reason is accountability. Much like a workout regimen, unless you articulate your expectations of yourself you can never hold yourself accountable; you will never grow.
The second reason is concentration. A firmly established creed, your belief system boiled down to a paragraph, will aid you greatly in life. In situations of intense stress or emotional energy, a simple verse that you can repeat to yourself often has the power to center you amidst the distractions.
The final reason is faith. When you have written something down you can begin to believe in it. This is especially helpful if you are not currently living up to the expectations of your creed. You must believe inside that you are a man of honor before you become the man of honor. Every great achievement begins with intention; without focus you can complete nothing.
Developing My Creed
I set out to develop my creed. I wished to be careful, I wished to be exclusive, only including those things that I believed were necessary to build and maintain a solid human foundation.
- I began by defining my core values. A core value is a principle or belief that you deem of central importance to your life. You can have any number of core values, however, I’ve always found four principles to be my sweet spot. This step was easiest since my family had established a set of core values years before: Love, Truth, Justice, and Humility.
- My second step was to decide what I was loyal to. I decided early on, for something or someone to have my loyalty I would have to be willing to die for it. Family was an immediate yes. Both to my current, nuclear family and my future family. My faith in Jesus Christ and Jehovah was another key loyalty.
- The third step was to establish the end goals of this oath. Mine were straight-forward. I wanted to become a better man, a man with a strong life foundation. I also wanted to change the world. I wanted to create and bring life.
- The final, most critical step, I believe, was establishing “untouchable” rules. These are the rules that, at the end of the day, you must be willing to follow no matter what. It is very important to take the proper amount of time to hash out these rules because once you put them to oath, you must follow through.
In the end, I didn’t borrow from the U.S. Army’s creed as much as I thought I would. Once I started pulling these ideas out of my subconscious, my creed became organic, growing with a life of its own. In the end, it was the process, as much as the product, that ended up changing me.
Swearing the Oath, Living the Creed
There is a river about a mile from my house. I have a quiet spot on the dusty bank where a tree fell into the water. It’s at a bend in the river and, in the afternoons, the sun sparkles on the rippling current. I took my creed down to my quiet place; I spoke the oath out loud and sealed my pact.
I am a Warrior of Light.
I am a son of God, a prince, and a hero.
I serve my God, my family.
I am a guardian of Justice. I preserve Truth at all cost.
I walk in Love towards God and man. Humility is my heart.
I am disciplined Spiritually, Mentally, Physically, and Emotionally.
My pen is like that of a ready writer.
I am a creator of great things.
Whatever I set my hand to prospers.
I will laugh when my enemies come and rejoice in the face of adversity.
I will never give in.
I will never accept defeat.
I am the storm.
Conclusion: The Evolving Nature of Creeds
One thing I would like to point out is the relative shortness and simplicity of my creed. Creeds, like life, are evolutionary–not static. You must realize this if you decide to write your own creed, and know that as your life changes your creed will continue to grow and richen.
I wish you luck in your creed-making. Until next time, Peace be with you.