Workforce Spirituality and Valor

By: Christian Ryan

A new group is forming on campus. Small but dedicated, it is a group of young men with deep beliefs, and a will to strengthen and spread their values among the students of Ripon.

No, it’s not YAF.

Called Valor, its members intend to promote and practice Christianity within the Ripon College ROTC. It focuses on supporting the spiritual health of student-soldiers here at Ripon, and on providing a place where men can discuss the realities of life in the Army under a Christian perspective.

Valor may sound unimportant, as only a few students are in the ROTC program itself. However, this program marks the beginning of a new trend on the part of the military, government and many businesses to incorporate religious ideals in their everyday operations. This is the same with Valor, a program that is based in Christianity, but is in place to promote well-being and, as the Army says, “comprehensive fitness.”

John Merwin, current Red Hawk company commander and founder of the Valor program, has echoed the Army’s official position on religion, saying that Valor is a way to refine a person’s “purpose, core beliefs and values.”

“Spirituality is just another part of comprehensive fitness,” which also includes social, emotional, family and physical fitness.

Businesses such as Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby have come under pressure for focusing too much on their religious beliefs in the operations of business. The Chick-Fil-A website states many of their own procedures are “practical, as well as spiritual,” such as their decisions to be closed on Sundays. Likewise, Forever 21, Tyson Foods, and Marriott Hotels have successfully balanced religion in workforce operations, as well as including it often on a low key note, in marketing.

Religiously inspired programs – Valor in the Army’s case – are often started by employees and spread through the companies as a whole. The Valor program is not directly part of a national effort, but is supported by the larger organization because it has the potential to help motivate the ROTC cadets.

“In the Army, and in life in general, you see Christian groups trying to help people out,” says Ripon ROTC Cadet Alexander Kazmierski.

As increasing numbers of businesses focus on healthcare in general, there will be an increasing need of spiritual outlets for employees at various companies as well, says Kazmierski. “Christianity in business does a lot more [good] than anything else, because it helps people work together,” he adds.

These attitudes may strengthen the public opinion that religion is fundamentally good for employees. Accordingly, firms should keep their minds open to these new trends, as facilitating spirituality in the workplace might mean a boost in cooperation that various enterprises are always looking for in order to gain a competitive edge.

The Army hopes to always have an edge on the enemies of the United States; if they are willing to use a program such as Valor to get that edge, then the private sector should take note.