Sunday, September 17, 2006

Somewhere God placed me

Something very emotional happened a while ago, I cried. It wasn't some tearjerking event but just some tears coming out of my eyes in the stillness of the cold baguio breeze.
Yesterday was my squadmate's maiden performance in the parade grounds. It was his first time to march in his Full Dress uniform in front of the crowd. I felt some form of fulfillment thinking that he is experiences one of the essentials of cadet experiences, to wow the crowd as they marvel at the toy soldiers(us) in front of them. It was the first time because I prevented him from joining his games in the BBEAL.
It wasn't easy that he reached that point. I had to do a serious thinking of what I should do regarding it. He is the same plebe who said that he is stupid.. yes the one who seems not to do anything right. Immediately after we had that conversation, he went again to his game and I did not see him until 9 o'clock that night. I was furious, it wasn't because I did not want him to play it was because I had a requirement that he did not meet. He failed in his last Physical Fitness Test(PFT), an integral part of cadet training, and from that point on I had all my energy into making him pass that test. With him going to his games almost always, I had no choice but to prevent him from joining his games until such time he satisfies my requirement. That was the hardest part. My classmate who was my assistant squad leader is the one with him in his games and we differ in opinion on my act. He reasoned that I might get the ire of some officers. I then informed my Company Commander about my concern and he approved of my decision. I did it because I believe that before one should be allowed certain privileges, a cadet should first and foremost do his job, that is passing the tests required of him. The games are purely extra curricular activities and he is still a cadet even without it. That was my reason, I further defended that if I will not be able to discipline him in that aspect I am a failure as his squad leader.
With that in place I gave him my direct instruction not to join the games until he is able to pass his PFT. It was fine yesterday, but this morning was a different one. As I was expecting him in the formation going to church, he was in a different uniform ready to go to his games. I felt like I was the worst person in the world. I felt that he was violating me. I felt so bad that even as I was trying to talk to the people at church my mind was somewhere else. I can not stop talking about it to my classmates and they jokingly advised me that when all else fails, resort to hazing. With my fury, it was an option I contemplated. I wanted to teach him a lesson, I wanted to make him understand that I am not someone to be messed with. The thought occupied me until I finally fell asleep. I went the formation for Evening Mess still thinking about it but trying my best to stay cool. As the plebe was trying to join the squad in the table, I told him to SCRAM!!! In the table, my classmate (who was my assistant squad leader) was arguing with me. We had a major debate but I held my ground, in the end I think he understood me and being classmates we laughed at how we argued. When the mess ended, it was my time to confront my plebe.
I was hurt badly when he ignored my direct instruction for him not to attend his games. I felt that I was useless and all day I just wanted to get back at him and make him know that I was in charge. But then as we were walking, I remember the so many things that I have done as a squad leader to him and the other two under my command. I mean, if God made me be their squad leader so be it. It wasn't something that I should prove to them, it was something that I SHOULD DO. As I was talking to him expressing my anger, these were the thoughts that was in my mind. I realized that I was in a situation where I can exhibit something that I wanted him to understand, I wanted him to learn how is it to be committed to ones job. If I hazed him, he would hate me and I will simply teach him to do the same when he becomes an upperclass. I was so emotional because I was trying to supress my anger and do what I was supposed to do. It felt so bad that I just resorted to crying. I cried because he did not understand what I was trying to do. I cried because he was opposing something that was for his own good. I cried because I was to impart on him one of the most important lessons I learned and I do not know how.
It wasn't easy facing a plebe and showing that kind of emotion. It was a challenge in itself suppressing the built up anger I have with him the whole day. As I was expressing to him this anger I remember that this is where God placed me. I did not understand why he had to be so hard-headed despite of sincere intention of just trying to do a good job at being his squad leader. I did not understand why I had to feel being violated by a plebe who does not know a thing about all the sacrifices and obstacles I had to go through to come to this stage of my cadetship. I did not see the point why he had to be so insensitive to all the efforts I was doing for him. The thing that just strucked me was that I was there. Although I did not understand why, I know God placed me there because he believed I can handle it. I may not have the mastery of leadership but I knew God will teach me and gave up trying to master it on my own. In the end my God came into my aid and I knew that my words penetrated this plebe. I feel that I am the best squad leader in the world right now, not because I was so good but because at the point of no return I realized that this is somewhere God placed me. I may not be able to understand everything about this job, but God must have known better when He orchestrated everything to put me where I am now. I will not be spared from further challenges but I will be spared from the fear of not doing a good job. I may still feel frustrated or violated every now and then but I guess that is part and parcel of the job the difference is that now I know this is where I should be and I will do everything to make a good job at it.

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