Footsteps in Faith: Be a team player, role model to others

| June 2, 2017 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Maj.) Scott F. Kennaugh
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team         
25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The poster was cool, but I had to read it twice. The message was simple, but it caught me off guard.

It was an athletic face with an intense gaze, shaded in the background, with a glow of light to highlight his features. The phrase was just five words, but the message was shattering: “Be Your Own Role Model.”

Sports stars are easy to look up to; they have always been role models for the rest of us who dream of exciting performances and amazing highlight reels. But in the post-game interview, the star always says, “We played great today. I’ve got to hand it to these guys.”

If anyone comes out and acknowledges their own greatness, we brand them an egotist, and the social media trolls will swiftly post every clip of past failures the archives can cough up.

When you ask a star about their motivation, they’ll point to someone before them whom they admired: their role model. Maybe it’s a single player or maybe a team from a specific year, but they draw motivation and inspiration from someone beyond themselves. If they could do it, then I could, too!

We are made to be on teams, to be in communities, to support and motivate and inspire each other. We definitely need to be connected in a place like Hawaii, where we are thousands of miles from home and family, and where we can feel alone on an island with a million other people.

That’s why the message on the poster startled me – because it tried to make it cool to be alone and not need anyone. Those five words made it look chic to not need to be on a team, not need anyone to look up to, and not need anyone to look up to you.

Let me be the first to tell you this poster is lying.

In my brigade, I always stress to our Soldiers the importance of building connections here. This is an opportunity to invest in yourself, in your professional growth, in your spiritual growth and in new relationships in the community.

The old verse about “bad company corrupting good character” is as true today as it was back then. Role models are just as important, too. I think of a preacher like the apostle Paul who called the believers to follow him as he followed Jesus.

We need to learn from each other and to support each other. We also need to be the kind of people others can lean on and learn from; it goes in both directions.

Forget being “your own role model” because that only shatters community. Instead, I’ll ask you these questions to build our community: “Who is your role model?” and “Whose role model are you?”


Category: Standing Columns

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