While trying to work on an induction brief I was reminded me of a story which I originally read in a book by John Maxwell and have adapted to a military situation.
One of the roles of the senior Warrant Officer (WOFF) is to interview all the junior airmen who are posted into his unit. They may come with fear and trepidation but his calm, approachable manner gives some of them the confidence to actually ask a question. One frightened young LAC got up the courage to ask “what are the people like in this unit?” The WOFF thought for a moment and then asked “What were the people like in your last unit?” The young LAC hesitated for a moment and then said “They were horrible! They were mean, untrustworthy… nobody helped me… I was glad to get out of there! “Well”, said the WOFF, “you will probably find them much the same here.”
The next young LAC during his interview asked the same question, and again the WOFF responded by asking what his last unit was like. The LAC replied, “They were great! Honest and hardworking… always eager to help others, in fact I did not want to leave!” The wise old WOFF nodded his head and said “you will find the same here!”
When the interviews were all over the Flight Sergeant in the next cubicle approached the WOFF. “Sir, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with the two LAC’s, how could you tell one of them that the people here were good and the other that they were bad? Where is your integrity?”
The reality is, the way people see others is a reflection of themselves! If they are trustworthy, they will see and focus on those around who are trustworthy. Yet, if they are negative and critical, that is what they will see around them! Maybe you have just posted in, and you are hoping to find a work situation very different from the one you left. The key is not in the unit but in you. The fact is, you can change, you can adopt new attitudes which will result in changing how you see the people around you.
For some people that might take a miracle, but I also believe in miracles! I believe in a God who is able to change raw recruits, young LACs and old WOFFs, not from the outside in but from the inside out.
Chaplain Ian S Whitley