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Southland Christian Ministry Training

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Open Your Eyes

This week I read that you blink twenty five times every minute. Each blink takes you about one-fifth of a second. So, if you take a trip to Sydney from Wagga Wagga, say about 500kms, travelling at 100kph, then, if my calculations are correct, you would have your eyes closed for about 25 minutes and thus fail to see about 40 kilometers!

What a worry…but the reality is that some people go through their whole lives not seeing things! They may have their eyes open but fail to see beyond the obvious. They are the ones who can tell you that on the drive to Sydney the road is black with white lines but have no idea of the beautiful scenery or the many interesting places on the way.

They are often the same ones who don’t see that a workmate is struggling with life “because they didn’t say anything”. They ask closed questions expecting a simple yes or no because they don’t want to be bothered with the details. They may have vision but lack true insight. They just want the facts but do not have the imagination to do something with them. Their partner leaves them but they just can’t understand why. Surely that would not happen in the Defence Force?

As I look back over some of my conversations this week it seems that it happens all too often. What can you do to open your eyes and see what others may miss? LEARN!

  • Listen! Take note of what is said and what is left unsaid. If you don’t understand ask for clarification instead of jumping to conclusions. Learning to listen will revolutionalise your communication ability.
  • Emotion! Don’t just focus on the facts, the feelings are also important! My tendency is to try to solve my partner’s problems rather than understanding how she feels.
  • Accept differences! It should be obvious but we are NOT all the same and any attempt to force uniformity is doomed to failure. Recognise and affirm those distinctives, and you may begin to value that diversity rather than fighting it.
  • Respect! Honour and mutual respect are foundational RAAF values but we are sometimes slow to put them into practice unless we “have to”. It is not about expecting it as much as showing it!
  • Needs! Be open to the fact that other’s needs may be different from yours and more pressing than yours. Life does not revolve around you, so learn to give.

I can see that, what about you?

Chaplain Ian S Whitley

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