The Final Onion Skin: The Golden Rule
The final onion skin to be removed in order to understand the path towards becoming a UN Peacekeeper references the origins of my core values. As previously mentioned, core values are not innate instead, one’s value system and sense of self is developed and maintained over time through three invaluable tenets: life experiences, socialization or one’s upbringing. The life experiences attained throughout my young adult years led to my “Call of Duty” which, in turn, required that I develop a personalized socialization process with three guiding core values: Integrity, Excellence and Service. The value of integrity was integrated through my choice of professions as an upright “citizen soldier”. My pursuit of excellence, in the form of self-mastery, was enacted through my philosophical understanding of the duty of a “spiritual warrior”. This final layer onion skin will demonstrate how my core values especially, my commitment to service, was born within my community and is as a consequence of my upbringing.
During my upbringing, with an Italian-born father and a Venezuelan-born mother, the local Italian Canadian parish was the most important point of contact for the family. The local parish, through its honouring of saints and celebration of the sacraments, contributed towards the preservation of the Italian Canadian community’s language and culture.
As Franc Sturino accurately explains in his article on Italian Canadians in The Canadian Encyclopedia,
“Within the private realm, the family and religion have been interrelated pillars of cultural continuity. Both maintain greater importance for Italian Canadians than in the general population. Despite the growing population of the Canadian-born and increasing level of cross-cultural union, Italian family and moral values have persisted to a significant degree. Identification with the Famiglia and cultural group is a major means of proving Italian Canadians with a sense of security in the midst of an impersonal mass society. Interestingly, the census suggests that many children of mixed marriages are likely to identify themselves as Italian Canadians; hence multiple-origin Italian Canadians increased more than threefold between 1981 and the mid-1990s.’’
Our Lady of Consolata Parish was were my family and I would honour our Catholic saints, my sister and I received the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation and, where we would celebrate marriages, as well as, the funeral services of our beloved departed.
The parish was founded by the Consolata Missionaries; a catholic community of brothers and priests from different continents that dedicate their life without any additional commitments, to their mission and their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, under the influence of the teachings of Jesus on mercy, spirituality, and compassion known as “The Beatitudes”. “The Beatitudes” are expressed as eight blessings that Jesus announced from the “Sermon on the Mount” in the Gospel according to Matthew. One of them is “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God”.
Mahatma Gandhi, went so far as to say, “I can say that the historical Jesus never interested me. Nothing would change for me if someone proved that Jesus never lived and that the Gospel narration was a fictitious story because the message of the Sermon on the Mount would always remain true for me.”
Our Lady of Consolata parish played host to the Consolata Scout Movement, as well. During my many years in Scouting, I was relentlessly exposed to the three broad principles which represented its fundamental beliefs: Duty to Self, Duty to Country and to God, Duty to Others.
Duty to Self meant an addiction to learning all one can, to be curious, and to ask questions in one’s everlasting pursuit towards excellence. It meant to live one’s life with integrity, to be pure in one’s speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.
Duty to Country relates to our formation of being a model citizen and working towards the good of Canada and obeying its laws. Duty to God was defined broadly as “adherence to spiritual principles” and since the Consolata Scout Movement was collocated in the same parish as the Consolata Missionaries, the Consolata Missionaries’ convictions permeated through as spiritual teachings.
The Consolata Missionaries habits were to transcend conventional territorial boundaries, in addition to, the racial, cultural, sociological and religious ones that may exist in some parts of the world. They were known for going beyond the borders of their parish, diocese and country of origin and serve all people. The Our Lady of Consalata parishioners were regularly exposed to the Consolata Missionaries various global endeavours from Venezuela to Uganda, Argentina to Kenya.
The members of the Consolata Scout Movement acquired extroverted mandate of compassion through service via osmosis and constantly enacted the ability to help whenever one is needed at home, as well as, beyond our local community. In some way, it is the practical application of the ethic of reciprocity that has been practiced throughout the ages and by almost all religious beliefs. For Christians, it is known as “The Golden Rule” which is to “Do unto others as you as you would have them do unto you” and was at the base of the Consolata Scout Movement’s sense of “Duty to Others”.
If one looks back at my core values one can tell that the socialization process that I decided to embark on upon my return from my travels was actually inculcated in me throughout my upbringing. The Italian Canadian values during my formative years, my involvement in the local parish into my early adolescence coupled with my martial arts training of my teenage years were the nests that incubated the core values entering my young adult life.
The life experiences that I underwent throughout my adult years were also rooted in the core values I was exposed to during my upbringing. That the life experiences I believed to have influenced my socialization process that led me to becoming a UN Peacekeeper was actually none other than a reaffirmation of the core values of integrity, service and excellence that had been invested in me during my upbringing.
Now that an understanding of how I became a UN Peacekeeper, I will embark on why participating in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti was of vital interest to me.