Try this quick quiz: think about a person who has been a great influence in your life, and try to remember something they actually said. There are several teachers, preachers and mentors that come to my mind, but I struggle to remember ANYTHING they said! For a preacher and teacher like me to have to admit that is a bit unnerving… why do I bother????
The fact is (as I read somewhere) although people will forget what you said, and may forget what you have done, they will never forget how you made them feel. What I remember about the people who have moulded me into who I am today, is not what they said, or the concepts they taught but the life they lived in front of me – their character and integrity.
Last week we spent time discussing what we as Chaplains should teach at 1RTU and OTS. Sure we could do it better, we could have access to more time to make a bigger impact, and have more relevant and engaging material to make it more interesting but what will make a difference is simply being there, being open and honest about who we are, what we believe and showing how to live it out in practice. That applies not just to Chaplains but to all who wear the uniform of the ADF, especially those in leadership roles, whether they be senior NCO’s or Air Commodores!
Where do you start? Obviously it is an ongoing process and is more caught than taught but much will depend on who you choose to follow and allow to influence your life. Nobody ever said it would be easy, in fact Helen Keller suggests the opposite:
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.
Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened,
ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Chaplain Ian Whitley