Every generation thinks those who follow have it easier, and in many cases, it's true. Military training used to be tough, but it seems to be much easier now. Whether from overzealous risk avoidance, attrition concerns, or political correctness, we've gotten soft.
In the July 2010 Proceedings, retired Vice Admiral Thomas Kilcline's article "The Whole Sailor" discussed building character. He described it in terms of morality and labeled it "crucial to mission accomplishment." There's no arguing with his assessment, but it did not go far enough.
Throughout life, things go wrong or are more difficult than expected. When our children or professional subordinates experience this, we often tell them these situations "build character." There's a lot to be said for that; difficult experiences, while not necessarily directed toward one's morality, are character-building. They teach confidence and determination—stick-to-itiveness, if you will.