It should come as no surprise but RAAF Wagga as the main ground training school of the Royal Australian Air Force is all about assessments! That applies not just to recruits and trainees, but to ALL of us, because we are being assessed ALL the time! We might choose to ignore this fact but at this time of the year it becomes very obvious when we front up to our supervisor to sign off our Performance Annual Review (PAR). Thankfully, it did not come down to a mark out of 100, but it is sobering all the same, and showed that my CO had been watching me! However, some things were not included, and I wondered how I would have scored on:
1. FREEDOM? Have I used my freedom wisely? Have I lived up to the RAAF Values when nobody was looking? Yes, I may have given up some freedoms, but the RAAF has given me other freedoms that more than compensate. I have had the freedom to learn and grow, as well as make a difference in other people’s lives. You too have those freedoms – have you realised that potential or are you content to whinge about what you have lost?
2. FRIENDSHIP? Have I made new friends this year or just stayed in my rut where I was comfortable? Starting a career in the RAAF requires you to leave behind family and friends and for some I have shared with this week that is a big problem. However, real friends will not desert you just because you are geographically inaccessible or you can’t give them all the time you used to. The key is not just dwelling on what you have lost but seeing the potential to build new friendships here.
3. FORGIVENESS? Have you been prepared to be gracious and forgive others who have wronged you? All of us can look back and see times when we have done the wrong thing, let someone down, or failed to appreciate the opportunities being offered to us. We live in a culture that finds it hard to apologise, to say we are sorry and ask for, and receive forgiveness. That can be a heavy load to bear. My experience is that un-forgiveness will hurt you more than them! Failure to learn how to forgive all too often results in breakdown of relationships, intense pain and a whole host of other unwanted results, so don’t put it off any longer.
4. FAITH? Do I know what I believe? Over this last year there have been many times when I did not really understand what was going on, why things happened and how I was going to cope! At that point you can either give up or realise that God is still in control and will help IF we are prepared to ask for it. He did not always provide a way out – but he did give me the strength and courage to keep hanging in there through those hard times. I proved again that faith is the key to not just surviving but growing and flourishing in difficult situations.
What is your assessment of all that? You cannot change the past, but you can decide to change your focus for the future!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley