An important conclusion was reached during the week just past. It is my opinion that I am a man with certain biases and pre-conceived notions. There are long-held beliefs which lie at the core of my very being. There are certain ways that I act and certain things that I do, as a matter of education and experience. In this way I am no different than any of you. We are all products of our lived experience.
Having said this I want to assure you that I am working to become more open and sharing. Life does not revolve around me. I am just one of the many players on the stage of life. Part of being a sharing and caring individual revolves around the continual review of my educational data base. No matter how long you or I do something, we must remain open to the new ways of performing these tasks. We must guard against closing our hearts and minds to the new ways of doing things which others put forward from time to time.
During many of my consulting assignments, I encounter people who never leave their community in search of the latest professional developments in our field. They keep doing things in the same ways as their fathers and grandfathers. They do not seek to learn any new lessons, because they are so comfortable with the manner in which they operate. In short, they build walls around their communities to keep out the new concepts which are alien to their experience.
While we should not seek to cause change just for change sake of change, we must look for those things that can make our service better. We should not hide from change just because it makes us uncomfortable, or because it scares us. We need to keep an open mind to new ideas. We must weigh their value, and then utilize them if it is appropriate to do so.
Just where do we find these ideas and how do we embrace them. There are a number of ways to do this. We should begin our efforts by stepping outside of the normal box wherein we live and look at what other people are doing. Reading the literature of our field is an excellent way to begin this search. Far too many people fail to embrace the many magazines within which professionals in our field lay down their thoughts and experience for us all to review.
Another important thing that we call can do is attend the major fire service conventions which occur at various times during the year. At these events one can find a wide array of seminars and discussions on what is happening in the fire service today. I am not saying that we should accept every word we hear as gospel. However, we should listen, weigh, and evaluate the lessons offered by the seminar presenters. Be active listeners.
This is a magic week for all of us who value education and training. It is once again that time of the year when firefighters from around the world converge on the city of Indianapolis for an extremely important event. We are coming together to celebrate the importance of knowledge to all of us who live within the world of the fire service. We are coming together to share what we know and do.
Since 1928 people interested in knowledge have made the annual pilgrimage to the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC). Regardless of where the event has been held, it has been a place for learning and sharing. Individuals who have sought to broaden the boundaries of our shared experience have come together and built a new reality for our fire service.
Why do we do this? Why doe each of us take a week out of our lives and away from our families to study the latest developments in the fire service? It is my guess that we all do this because of the recognition that knowledge is power, and that proper knowledge forms the basis for all that is right and good in the world.
Of course there will be others with their own agendas. However, even these people will come away with a better understanding of the fire service than if they did not go. You just cannot avoid knowledge. It seems to be in the air out in Indianapolis.