Today I was reminded of how much I rely on my photocopier. The one in the Chaplain’s centre is normally so reliable that I don’t even think about it but over the last few days there have been an increasing number of paper jams, mis-feeds and frustrating delays that has got at me! Yet, when I paused to think about it, I was reminded that they haven’t really been around all that long. I can remember the first one I operated, and had to justify its use since the cost was so high! At that time I was operating a monster duplicator, wax sheets, messy ink drums and a minimum print run of about 50! Before that it was a strange machine that you had to feed copious amounts of methylated spirits to get even a very poor copy! I am even old enough to remember doing multiple copies on a typewriter, with carbon paper…so what?
All of us here at RAAF Wagga are in the business of duplication. When we work with recruits, trainees and subordinates, our role is to teach them to be like us, to reproduce ourselves so that they adopt our practices, our values and our skills. Do we do that just in the classroom setting? NO! So much of what we teach is through our example, how we react to situations, and even how we behave in our free time both on and off the base. Take a moment to reflect…how good a duplicator are you? Is that what you want?
Some of my experiences this week have highlighted the fact that we sometimes expect a higher standard of others than we expect of ourselves, yet such a system is doomed to fail because no matter how we discipline people or force them in a particular direction, they seem to continue to become like their role models – for better or for worse!
The problem is not the photocopier – but US! If the original is faulty we can’t blame the copy! But if you get the original right you will get right copies. So instead of pointing the finger at others get your own act together. Without pushing the metaphor too far, the answer is not to blame the weather, the paper, or another operator but to get the serviceman out to give it a service! In human terms the manufacturer is God Himself, so take the time go get to know Him.
Chaplain Ian S Whitley