It's been a while since my new batch of cadets came in. Half of the time I will spend with them has come and gone.
People used to tell me while I was still a cadet that if one goes to unit, he will influence the lives of the six men under him. I replied with trainers influencing the lives of so many more because they see so many more. I know it isn't the same, but I always believed that trainers can still make a huge impact.
And that remains true, I do believe that whatever I do here has a purpose and leaves a mark in the lives of people. It's just that, our paths cross and then we leave not to meet again. There will not be any deep development of relationships that last us through lives.
While I appreciate that sometimes we don't need to continually be invested in someone's entire life to make a difference (for example showing kindness to a stranger), I always hoped that I would be able to see the kind of people these who cross paths with me eventually become.
This batch is the batch I have felt most distant to thus far. I won't be surprised if they do not remember me much after this. When I meet my cadets, I take ownership of the relationships that will be forged and I hate to think of people as batches, as if they are but statistics, people that pass through this machinery that I am. Yet it just seems that with every batch that comes and goes, I feel less and less motivated. They come, I get to know them for awhile, and before we know it, they're gone. Just a memory, just some people I used to know.
I wonder how do teachers feel. Spend a year with their students, and then they're gone. And for the rest of their lives they do it again and again. I don't think I could do that, because after awhile, like now, I'll probably grow tired. Even if I know I am making a difference, I will still grow tired of seeing people leave my life.
Another factor of course, is having to get to know new people, again and again. It's pretty overwhelming. So many diffierent individuals, each with their own quirks, each with their own attitudes, their own histories, their own beliefs. To be able to not understand is something I greatly dislike, and yet to try to understand so many people and then after all that effort for them to leave, after awhile I just don't really want to go through it again.
And finally, where the lives will lead. Every single one of these cadets that come under me, I feel a sense of obligation to lead them well. When it comes to raising up these cadets though, I honestly do not place my number one priortity in having them become good commanders but rather on a whole, good people. Yet this is hardly achievable within this short stint and each time I feel like my work is incomplete. I want these people to be commanders who will lead with love, who will exhibit qualities of Christlikeness (even if they may not be Christian), but no one can sculpt man in such a short time. As such each time a batch passes out, it feels like there should have been more than I could have done.
Much of these is perhaps just me being overly idealistic and hoping to be able to do something that isn't actually possible. I don't think I could take this lightly though, what God has entrusted to me I will give of my best. Maybe I will never know what is the legacy I will leave behind, but God knows, and I suppose that is all that really matters. A wise encik once said that he may not be able to influence everyone for the better, but if he could influence just 10 percent, 1 percent or even just 1 person, he would have done right. I fully agree with that in theory, but I guess I need to let it translate into living it out.
At the end of the day, may God be glorified.
On a somewhat related note, while writing all these, it came to my mind that as a typical INTJ in many ways, it's a little strange to often be thinking about humanity and human relationships. Part of it has to do with a intellecutal interest in how humans work and why we are the way we are, but I realise another part of it has to do with this powerful desire for people to just be alright. I don't know since when and how did that seem to become a driving force in my life. Sometimes, it's this that makes me feel so weary when I look around me and see human suffering. I understand that suffering is part of living and often used by God, but I still feel that sense of 'I must do something' so keenly, and when it often isn't coupled with actually doing something (for all sorts of reasons), I just feel really really tired.