The Power of 3

Valentine’s Day reminds us that relationships matter. This is true—personally and professionally.

Each of us is entering our fourth decade of marriage. We have had great role models in our parents and in-laws, each of whom had—or have—marriages lasting four decades or longer. In any relationship, we look for two innate attributes—trust and character—in particular.

Centuries and millennia ago, our ability to judge trust and character could mean the difference between survival and perishing. “Love thy neighbor” meant charity and generosity and, yes, survival. We needed each other to make it.

Today trust and character are equally important—for many of the same reasons. When we can trust each other, we have strong communities. When we live with character, we can take pride in ourselves.

Trust and character are vitally important in any civil society, and they relate directly to empathy. As Steve shares in our book Uncommon Bonds, empathy transcends national boundaries and cultural differences. It can be found in the toughest of circumstances.

We saw empathy and “love thy neighbor” in action when in 2002 an Afghan father came to the U.S. Army Rangers that Steve was commanding with an urgent request for medical assistance. The father’s son had been burned badly during a stove fire in their home (not because of any military action).

The Afghan father requested immediate medical help for his son. When Steve and the father met in the army hospital at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, they made a father-to-father connection, and the injured boy received three plastic surgery procedures to restore his ability to walk and use his hands. The boy was also was treated for a bout of malaria.

We hope this injured boy grew up to be a healthy adult. We hope that he, as an adult, enjoys fruitful personal and professional relationships. Such relationships give meaning to our lives. Please join us in recognizing and appreciating those whose relationships matter most to us.