The legendary program, Outward Bound, is rooted in the experiences of merchant seamen in the North Atlantic around World War II. Their resilience under life-threatening conditions sometimes meant the difference between life and death.

When German U-boats sank vessels, the older sailors often stood a much greater chance of survival than the much younger sailors. Intensive observation and study proved that the younger sailors quite often just didn’t know they could survive.

Simply put, they frequently died of shock. The combination of the freezing cold water and the idea they were alone in the ocean was just too much for them to accept. They simply didn’t think they would be rescued in time.

The older sailors mentioned above had developed more resilience. They had more confidence they would survive a horrible ordeal that seemed hopeless at the time. They’d had more preparation and life experiences to prepare themselves for such a trying situation.

Most of us fortunately will never find ourselves in life-or-death circumstances. But our biological parents knew something about such challenges. Mom and Dad survived a work camp and a prison camp, respectively, during World War II. While the stresses of life eventually caught up to them, they remained resilient for years afterward.

Resilience in mind, body and spirit, we all developed it because of our life experiences. Brother Steve, a retired ArmCOL Steve Banachy colonel, knows well the power of resilience. Time and time again, he put his life on the line for our country over his 27-year military career.

Throughout the years, all three of us faced—and met—challenges. Doing so wasn’t easy, but it built strength, resolve, and fortitude in us. This meant the difference between surviving and not surviving during tough times and periods of personal loss for us. It also meant the difference between surviving and thriving in better times.

Most importantly, we have each other, and that means everything. The love we have for one another was—and is—the bedrock of our lives; it remains unbreakable. Each day, we give thanks for the many blessings in our lives.

Resilience is one of those blessings.