“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” ~ Stephen Covey
If you’ve ever experienced the power of trust in a positive or negative way, you’ll instantly identify with this quote. Since my forthcoming new book release, Captured by Love, is at the top of my mind right now, I’ll add one more attribute that the Vietnam POWs and their wives also experienced, and that was resilience.
Having trust in relationships fortifies resilience. Back in the years of 1965-1973, it helped both the POWs and the women back home live up to their commitments to their mission and each other.
Watch my brief leadership coaching clip on building resilience with trust, and then continue reading the blog –
As an honorable leader, if you’re searching for inspiration and advice on building resilience in your own life, here are three perspectives from this book that show how trust strengthens resilience –
- Integrity and good character are the foundation for trust.
This perspective may seem obvious, but…
“When the pressure is high in leadership, there’s always the temptation to set your character aside to gain a competitive edge or relieve pressure and stress.” [Tweet This]
The POWs were often tortured when we would not share information and cooperate with our communist captors. Our leaders went first into the fire and set the example of courageous commitment to the military code of conduct that clarifies that we would not cooperate with the enemy and we would be loyal to our country and our fellow POWs.
At the same time, back home in the early years (1964-68), the wives and families were told to “keep quiet” about the POW MIA treatment. They did for several years, and then they realized that this was more of a soft political perspective than a strong, faithful stance for the POWs. They knew that we were being tortured and felt it was time to speak up. And so, they did.
In a very healthy but direct and consistent way, they courageously confronted our government. When the new administration came on board in 1969, SECDEF Laird and President Nixon changed our government’s policy in this area from “Keep Quiet” to “Go Public”, and this made a dramatic difference.
It was their solid belief in what was truly right for our soldiers that enabled them to demonstrate what true integrity was. The results of their efforts came quickly when in the fall of 1969, our captors stopped the regular torture in the camps.
- Keep your word and your commitments.
This perspective can be hard for some people who are insecure and are afraid of what consequences may occur by keeping your word. The wives and families back home and the POWs in the camps fought hard to be loyal to each other and those who were on their team and fighting with them.
Our POW senior leaders like Risner, Stockdale, and Denton were tortured the most often and all were held in solitary confinement for more than four of their seven and a half years as POWs. When they were so badly tortured that they could not keep their commitment to the Code of Conduct, they immediately sent out a message telling us exactly what they had done.
Then, they bounced back very quickly and resisted the enemy and were tortured again. Their honest sharing of their inability to keep their commitments and bounce back to be resilient helped us bounce back and resist again when we fell short. These natural acts of building trust in difficult times created the “glue” that held us together when the enemy was trying to pull us apart.
- Good communication is essential for trust.
A heart-warming example is shared in the first story of Captured by Love about F-105 pilot Capt. Wes Schierman and his wife Faye. Before Wes went off to war, he knew it was possible that he might become a POW or even be killed, so he wanted to help Faye prepare for living without him.
He sat down with her and initiated a discussion on the various challenges that she would have to face as a single mom with two children if he did not come home. As they discussed the various hardships and decisions she might face, he asked her questions of “what if and how would you handle it?” They discussed what the options and choices might be for her to operate without him.
In this process, he communicated to her that he trusted her and believed that she could handle it. In their story, Faye shares how meaningful this process was because she knew he trusted her to be able to hold things together in an emotionally and financially healthy way. After the war was over, it made their reunion even more special because their trust level had been established years before. Time helps solidify trust and make it even stronger.
Resilient Trust, A Winning Combination
The POWs were committed to the Code of Conduct and each other, and the wives were committed to their husbands and their fellow wives and families who formed the National League of POW/MIA families.
The trust that came from these commitments enabled them both to endure and reunite after many years with honor and love that has held them together for the last 50 years.
Whatever you’re facing today that requires resilience and endurance, remember to build trust as the glue that will strengthen you during this season. If you need help and inspiration, preorder a copy of Captured by Love and download a free copy of the Honor Code. Those two will help you gain and build trust that will bring rewards in every area of your life.
LE [Tweet this Article]
20 Top Gun Romance Stories! Pre-Order Your Copy
Captured by Love shares the real love stories of 20 Vietnam War POWs. Some had wives who started a movement that changed American foreign policy. Others came home and had to start over, while five single men met the loves of their lives.
Former POW Lee Ellis and love expert Greg Godek take you on a dramatic journey of faithfulness, passion, excitement, resilience, and practical love lessons from these couples.
From the Foreword Authors –
“What I have cherished but didn’t anticipate is a 50-year relationship with these couples. Please enjoy these dramatic and touching stories about my friends, and I hope that you’re as inspired as I was long ago.”
– Tony Orlando, Top-Selling Recording Artist, Songwriter, Concert Headliner, Network Television Star, Motion Picture Actor, Broadway Performer, and Author
“Most readers will experience a few tears here, but also lots of laughter as they engage with these stories. The stunning level of pain and sacrifice that our POWs endured is mind-boggling, but the love and romance that they have experienced is even more extraordinary!”
– Gary Sinise, Actor, Musician, Author, and Founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation
Pre-Order Your Copy on Amazon.com
Read some sample stories