Unfit for One Job, but Perfect for Another
Not long ago the Criminal Investigation Police University in Shenyang, China announced that it is getting rid of some dogs. 54 of its police dog candidates have flunked the course. Therefore, the academy wants to auction them off. All bids will begin at $30.90 (200 yuan), with each successive bid increasing by $7.70 (50 yuan). This is the fourth time this year the academy has auctioned off dogs. They’ve already sold 158 in 2021.
Why were these dogs (mostly German shepherds, Dutch shepherds, and Belgian malinois) disqualified for service in the police force? According to the academy, all these dogs exhibited some weakness. The predominant reason for disqualification was described as “cowardice.” However, another article clarified this. It explained that the dogs were simply too friendly and too nice for the job.
Now, this is understandable. A police dog has to be willing to take down assailants and criminals. They’re trained to attack
But those traits which make these dogs ideal to be the strong arm of the Chinese Communist Party, probably also make them unfit for life among humans. The aggressive disposition which makes these dogs perfect for federal law enforcement in China, may not even make them fit for the purpose for which they were bred. As shepherd dogs, they need to display a balance of ferocity toward predators and gentleness toward the sheep. Yet, gentleness has no place in the heart of an attack dog.
It’s true that the academy has no use for the 54 friendly dogs, but considers them weak and cowardly. However, their weaknesses are actually strengths in 99.9% of all other dog missions – e.g. caring for flocks, playing with children, being a family pet, and serving as companions for the elderly. Who wants an attack dog around their children?
This principle, that a weakness in one job can be a strength in another, applies to people as well as dogs. Attributes which serve a person well in one job may make them unfit for another.
I found this out during the three months I spent in the U.S. Army Ranger School. During the FTXs of this course, we were fed one meal per day and received about one hour of sleep per night. Under these conditions, it didn’t take long to be reduced to one’s bare elements, one’s essential nature. Whatever traits don’t come naturally under such stress, disappear altogether.
Therefore, having a kind and empathetic heart in Ranger School was most definitely a weakness. For, it’s always necessary to require soldiers to do what they don’t want to do. In Ranger School, soldiers want nothing more than to lay down and sleep. But you’ve got to put the mission first and letting them rest is the very last of your priorities. Therefore, I found it hard to push soldiers to do things they did not want to do. “Feeling for them” slowed me down and wore me out. As a result, I flunked.
But that same tender-heartedness became an asset when doing the work of a chaplain. In the military, kindness and empathy are in great demand but short supply. And many a crisis and disaster was averted because I was able to feel for people in desperate situations.
Maybe you’re feeling a bit like one of those 54 police dog rejects. Maybe you’re in a bit of situation like I was – being rejected from a job I was proving wholly unfit for. If so, please don’t take the rejection and failure as a final and authoritative assessment of your usefulness. Most likely, your unsuitability in one job only means that you’ll be superior in another.
For it was God who knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). God is the one chose your every attribute – your gender, personality, size, shape, strengths, voice, and color. And He conceived His plan for you back in eternity (Jeremiah 1:5). God has made you according to His own specifications and desires. And all the days He ordained for you were written down long before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).
Included in God’s plan for you, are multiple missions for which He’s specially equipped you. Sure, it’ll take time to discover your true greatness and to find those missions for which God created you. But God can help you in this pursuit. He knows exactly what you’re designed and best suited for. So, let Him take you by the hand and lead you into the path of His choosing.
PRAYER: Father in heaven, please take the raw and flawed material of my life and make me into the person of Your dreams. Prepare me and lead me to those missions for which I was born and in which I’ll thrive. In Jesus’ name I ask these things. Amen.
(Information from: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2021/07/02/china-Criminal-Investigation-Police-University-China-flunked-dog-auction/7991625254368/; https://www.scmp.com/news/people-culture/article/3139434/police-academy-china-plans-auction-coward-dogs-who-failed; https://www.mypspa.org/article/more/guard-dog-vs-protection-dog#:~:text=Attack%20Dog%2D%20An%20attack%20trained,are%20not%20suitable%20as%20pets)