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November Chaplain's Reflection

Portrait of Chaplain, Capt. Benjamin McEntire, with the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 10, 2013.
(National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

Portrait of Chaplain, Capt. Benjamin McEntire, with the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., Jan. 10, 2013. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- One thing we all live with in the military is standardization. We wear uniforms, work under the same standards and even our hairstyles have to fall within the same measurements. When leaders at the top look at us, they see numbers and quantification. In the civilian sector there's a growing trend to look at the workforce as numbers as well, and many businesses are replacing people with computers and robots.

There's one problem-when it comes to real-world problems, people can never be replaced. Unlike machines, humans know immediately when they've made a mistake and can work to fix it. How many in our flightline shops have stopped in the middle of a task because they saw a problem? A robot couldn't do that!

More importantly though, humans can pick up problems in themselves and others in ways that no machine ever will. When a coworker is experiencing family problems, financial worries or has legal issues, their friends and coworkers will often pick up on changes in their attitude, behavior or work performance. And unlike machines, they can do something about it.

Science and faith BOTH teach that humans are social and need to live in community to remain healthy. While very often our woes and problems are caused by things others did to us and sometimes didn't do for us, we've learned lessons through research that faith has taught for a very long time. We may be broken through relationships, but we are also healed through them. Here are several things we can provide one another that help us through even the toughest problems.

Listening Ears - Often, the biggest hurdle is when we share our gigantic, insurmountable secret problem with another person and find out they not only don't condemn us, but are willing to help and support us. By truly listening to one another without judgment we make one another stronger!

An Encouraging Touch - Ever, notice how we often give someone a pat on the shoulder to say we're there for them or hold a hurting person when they're crying? Positive human contact has tremendous physical and psychological benefits and without it, people's health can actually deteriorate.

Our Time - When someone has problems, few things affirm their worth than for others to give their time to help them. Whether it's hanging out with someone when they're feeling low or celebrating a promotion. Invested time is never a wasted investment in others.

An Unshakable Loyalty - The thing that enables us to go into combat, is knowing others have our backs. We sometimes need to have that same commitment from our family, friends and coworkers to get through the hard times we all face in life. By having someone else's back, we ensure that someone else will be there for us.

Because we're not machines (thankfully), we get the benefit of having the support of community. If you see someone struggling, take the time to give them the benefit of the human element; a listening ear, a word of comfort, a pat on the back and your faithful support. You might just save someone's life and family by being there for them!