Moral Selflessness



TITLE: Selflessness





TERMINAL LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Assist in identifying the value of selflessness, and how it pertains to the individual soldier and to the Army.




1. Communicate to the soldier the value of embracing the value of selflessness.


2. Challenge the soldier to adopt a life style selflessness.


3. Communicate the positive value that "selflessness has on the unit.


4. Design and use personal improvement action plan.


CONDITION:  Given a classroom setting with an overhead projector, chalkboard, or easel with "butcher paper".


STANDARD:  Participate in an interactive discussion of selflessness and decide upon a personal improvement action plan.


REFERENCES: FM 22-100 Leadership, DA PAM 165-16 Moral Leadership Values: Stage of the Family Life Cycle, Robert Fulghum, "All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," Dobson Film Series, Scriptures, Friedman: "Generation to Generation," Dolores Curran, "Traits of a Healthy Family."


INSTRUCTIONAL PROCEDURES:  Conference, overhead slides, practical exercises.


INSTRUCTOR NOTES:  This class is designed to be a discussion type class. The role of the instructor will be to: 1) impart information from the lesson plan; 2) elicit information and ideas from class participants; 3) affirm the input of the class participants; and 4) call the class members to action both for themselves and for the unit.


The lesson plan is written and needs to be presented in a positive way. It is an opportunity for you as the instructor to help individuals in the class examine his/her beliefs and to help others begin to develop more healthy values for his/her life.


This lesson plan may serve as an "opening of the door" for other ministry for members of your unit. At the end of the class, you may want to extend on invitation for individuals to speak with you privately about areas of personal growth or concerns of value conflicts in their lives.


NOTE: The instructor will want to make sure the classroom is set-up with all necessary equipment at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the class. Good lighting and ventilation of the classroom are important for a good class.


Some ideas to keep in mind during you presentation of the class are:


- When you ask a question, allow time for discussion.

- Write down all the responses given without making judgments about the input.

- Encourage class participation. You may want to call on a class member for input who you observe as either being disruptive or withdrawn from the class.

- Your slides may be upgraded with color, graphics or unit symbols.


At the end of this lesson plan is a "Personal Action Plan." It is to be used to measure the learning from the class by the class member, listing the called-for information. The top portion of the page is to be kept by the class participant as a guide for his/her future personal development. The bottom portion of the page should be turned in to you at the end of the class. These should not be signed. You may use this information as you advise the commander on the "climate" of the unit. It can also be used as a "bottom up review" of the unit in regard to the particular value. In this way the information can be used as a means to support Total Army Quality (TAQ) in the unit.


You will need to reproduce the number of personal action plans to correspond with the number of class participants. This will enable you to have a response from all class participants. After response forms are completed, insure the "climate" information is shared with the chain of command. This will assist us in improving the quality of life for our soldiers.








+  Review the material contained in this lesson thoroughly. A poorly prepared class is no better than no class at all.

+  Make overhead slides of the paper slides located at the back of this lesson as well as slides VU1-VU5 found at the end of Lesson One.

+  Make sufficient copies of the Personal Action Plan sheet found at the end of this lesson so that all class members will have one.

+  Ensure that the classroom is designated and all needed equipment is set up prior to class time.

+  Be sure that units have sufficient time to schedule the class and that soldiers are available to attend. Conflicting with other requirements of a training schedule will make the lesson ineffective.






SHOW:  VU1 "America's Army Core Values"


{This slide can be shown on the overhead as the class begins to arrive. It is your "title slide" which sets the stage for the material to be presented in the session. Put the introduction and form the questions in your own words.}


“Good morning/afternoon. My name is _________. Today’s class is one of a series of classes on America’s Army Core Values.”


SHOW:  VU2 & VU3 "List of Values"


“Some of our Core Values are listed on this slide.”


{It is helpful to briefly go over the list of values as presented on VU2 & VU3. However, each of these values will be presented as a separate lesson.}


“Some Other Core Values are listed on this slide VU3.”


SHOW:  VU4 "Purpose of Training.”  {Allow time for the class to read the slide.}


“The purpose of our training is found on this slide VU4. Why do you think it is important for us to study Allow time for discussion values?”


Some responses might be:


- Increase of violence in the nation.

- There seems to be less attention given to allowing a level of toleration of each other’s value systems.

- To help build stronger citizens.

- To increase personal responsibility within the community.


{It is to be demonstrated through discussion that the quality of life in our country would be enhanced by persons demonstrating the SELFLESSNESS value. At the heart of our liberty is the quality of giving of one’s self for the betterment of the country. This dedication and self sacrifice is certainly within the heart of America’s Army’s members who are routinely called upon to pay the ultimate sacrifice for the preservation of freedom in every corner of the world.}


“The primary focus of today's class will be on the value of SELFLESSNESS.”


“Would someone tell me why you believe the Army would be placing emphasis on providing classes on Values at this time?”


{Allow time for class discussion.}


“Service members of the Army, (NCOs and officers) are evaluated annually on this list of America's Army Core Values in the NCOER and the OER. Much has been written about values and their importance. Our individual values were formed by what we read, what we learned from our parents, teachers, pastors, and numerous other influential people in our lives. In addition, TV and movies have immeasurable influence on our value systems.”


SHOW:  VU5 "Values, Ethics, Morals."


“Perhaps it would be good for us to see how these values, ethics and morals are defined. This slide shows these definitions. (VU5)”


“Are there any comments or questions?”


{Field any questions the class members may have at this point. Ask the class to hold questions about specific values until later in the class session.}


“You may have another or more current illustration you would like to use, such as, an historical illustration from the unit you are instructing. For example:


+ There were thousands of service members during Operation Desert Storm (ODS) most of whom were not given public recognition. They were totally selfless.


+ Some say ODS was the military’s finest hour since World War II.


+ Some say they have never experienced such "team spirit" as they did during ODS.


+ What was it about ODS that caused so many to perform in such a selfless manner?


+ Is it possible to have that selfless spirit operational continually? In your present unit?


{Read dramatically, emphasizing the crucial action of SGT Lopez.}


“SGT Jose M. Lopez, on a fateful day in 1944 in Belgium, discovered something of the value we'll look at today.


Rank and Organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, 23rd infantry, 2nd Infantry Division. Place and Date: Near Krinkelt, Belgium, 17 December 1944. Citation: On his own initiative, he carried his heavy machine gun from Company K's right flank to its left, in order to protect that flank which was in danger of being overrun by advancing enemy infantry supported by tanks. Occupying a shallow hole offering no protection above his waist, he cut down a group of 10 Germans. Ignoring enemy fire from an advancing tank, he held his position and cut down 25 more enemy infantry attempting to turn his flank. Glancing to his right, he saw a large number of infantry swarming in from the front. Although dazed and shaken from enemy artillery fire which had crashed into the ground only a few yards away, he realized that his position soon would be outflanked. Again, alone, he carried his machine gun to a position to the right rear of the sector; enemy tanks and infantry were forcing a withdrawal. Blown over backward by the concussion of enemy fire, he immediately reset his gun and continued his fire.


Again he loaded his gun on his back and in a hail of small-arms fire he ran to a point where a few of his comrades were attempting to set up another defense against the onrushing enemy. He fired from his position until his ammunition was exhausted. Single-handedly, he held off the German horde until he was satisfied his company had affected its retirement.


Still carrying his gun, he fell back with his small group to Krinkelt. SGT Lopez's gallantry and intrepidness, on seemingly suicidal missions in which he killed at least 100 of the enemy, were almost solely responsible for allowing company K to avoid being enveloped, to withdraw successfully and to give other forces coming up in support time to build a line which repelled the enemy drive.


SHOW:  VU2-6 "Definition"


“Readiness is dependent upon the recognition that we are dependent upon one another. The same is true with family, community, and society.


“’Gallant and heroic’ are understatements when it comes to describing SGT Lopez’ actions that day. What other words come into mind as you think about this account?”


{Lead the class in a discussion of the definition of SELFLESSNESS.  Record their answers on a overhead, chalkboard, or butcher paper.}


Some possible answers are:


- Courage

- Sacrifice

- Friendship

- Protection

- Brave

- Daring

- Valiant

- Fearless




DISCUSSION QUESTION: Historically, at least, perhaps more than any other group or organization in American society, the United States military inspires its members to live in a "selfless" manner especially during war. What is it that causes some soldiers to be willing to even give their lives for a particular cause?


Possible answers are:


-Commitment to leaders

-Commitment to the cause


-Team spirit


SHOW:  VU2-7 "Why is the value of SELFLESSNESS important?"


{Record responses on overhead, chalkboard, or "butcher paper".}


“You can see how all these words can be summed up in our value for this period: Selflessness. Whether we say selflessness as on the OER 67-8 of selfless service as in the NCOER 2166-7, we are talking about a key value for America's Army.”


“Why is this value important to us as soldiers? Why is it mentioned on our efficiency reports?”


{Record class responses on overhead, chalkboard, or butcher paper.}


Possible responses:


- Commitment to mission above personal welfare.

- Demonstrates dedication.

- Demonstrates interest in others.

- Displays teachable spirit.

- Unit cohesion.


SHOW:  VU2-8 "How does Selflessness affect us?"


Possible responses:


- Encouraging.

- Gives me hope.

- Provides role model.

- Trust


“If you work with people who are selfish, how does that affect you?”


Possible responses:


- Makes me want to "smack'em."

- Reduces unit morale.

- Causes dissension among co-workers.

- Generates hate, envy,

- jealousy and irritation.


“Consider our society for a second - What does a selfish spirit do to a community or a country?


{Good time for an illustration.}


{Record responses on overhead, chalkboard, or butcher paper.}


Possible responses:



- No respect for life.

- "Me first" attitude.

- People stepping on each other to reach the top at the expense of others.


“Usually selflessness service isn't in the life or death area. It is conducting one's life in a manner that seeks to put others first. These are hard issues for any feeling and thinking person. Selfless service just doesn't happen, however. Why do some people seem to be more selfless than others? What or who do you think influenced them to be that way?”


Possible responses:


- Good modeling from family.

- Teacher influence.

- Strong religious beliefs.

- Heroes.

- Bible or Holy Book.

- Love for the Army or country.


“Freedom for all is dependent upon an individual’s willingness to place others’ needs above one’s own needs.”


SHOW:  VU2-9 "Now what do I do?


“Selflessness can't always be turned on like a water faucet. It's the kind of value that is like a well or spring that's always flowing to some degree. A medal of honor winner displayed a selfless spirit when his turn for action came. Is there anything you can do to "prime your pump" and help you do better? Let's list some ideas for consideration.” (VU2-9)


Possible responses:


- Volunteer for community service.

- Offer help to a lonely soldier.

- Be on the lookout for soldiers who need help accomplishing tasks.

- Look for ways to help your boss succeed.

- Look for ways to make everyone you meet a better person.

- Spend quality time with your family.

- Be honest and faithful.


{Use either of these as concluding remarks.}


“Near the top of the music charts has been a song with a one-word title, "Heroes." Mariah Carey wrote the song. We would do well to listen to it:”


Lord knows, Dreams are hard to follow

But don’t let anyone, Tear them away

There will be tomorrow

In time, You’ll find the way

And then a hero comes along

With the strength to carry on

And you cast your fears aside

And you know you can survive.

So, when you feel like hope is gone,

Look inside you and be strong

And you’ll finally see the truth

That a hero lies in you.


Have you gotten in touch with the hero inside of you?

If you haven’t, you haven’t begun to live! If you don’t,

you never will.




“QUESTION? How are values formed?


1. Self: We do our own thing. Self is the determining factor, no matter how it affects others or society as a whole.


2. Society : decides for you. This creates a problem: Normally this results in values which are determined by the lowest common denominator, i.e., a consensus decision.


3. God: or a Religious Belief System.


“CONCLUSION: John Adams said: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the soul of any other.’"


SHOW:  VU2-10 "Personal Action Plan"


{Hand out "Personal Action Plan.}


{Reproduce the sample which is provided at the end of this lesson prior to teaching the lesson.}


“Selflessness does not mean you are to be a doormat. It is a positive value that every leader must have, or there will be no followers!”


“To assist you in developing, your sense of SELFLESSNESS, we have prepared a handout called a Personal Action Plan. Let me hand them out. There are two parts: the top portion is for you. Please take time right now to complete the two statements in the top part.


{Allow time to fill them out.}


“Now consider the bottom portion. Please write your comments and do not sign your name. When completed, tear off the bottom portion and pass it to me.}


{Collect the "Personal Action Plans"}


“America's Army is a great Army because of the selfless spirit of its soldiers. We enjoy our freedom today because of the selfless service of those who have gone before us.


I salute you as you serve in that tradition!


Thank you for your attention. We may have discussed some issues that you want to talk about individually. I'll be available to discuss any concerns you might have.


Have a great day!







Regarding the value of SELFLESSNESS, I am doing well in the following ways:











Regarding the value of SELFLESSNESS, I would like to improve my life in the following ways:









------------------------------------ (Tear this half off and give to instructor)--------------------



Regarding the value of SELFLESSNESS, my unit is doing well in the following ways:











Regarding the value of SELFLESSNESS, my unit could improve if:













Without regard for oneself or one’s own interest; unselfish.