break them down to build them up

This is, by far and away, the most foolish comment made by brothers during a fraternity’s new member program to justify hazing.  It seems like pledge marshals believe that they are now drill instructors, and that is what is expected in a new member program.


I want to let you in on a little secret – there is no such thing as breaking them down to build them up in the military!

I served five years in the military, deploying twice to the Middle East.  I have been to boot camp and numerous training schools, and the concept of stripping a man of all his dignity to only rebuild him isn’t part of the military mindset.

Instead, the military focuses on finding people who already have the foundation and potential to contribute to the team.  From there, the training programs are focused on building on that foundation in order for recruits to meet their potential.

Think about this when you are evaluating your new member program.  Is it more productive for your fraternity to spend precious time breaking a man down, or is it more productive to recruit guys who have the potential to become great brothers – and then build them up?






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