Some of these instant wonders end up with rank that they make years before their experience and education would dictate such advancement should occur. The push for immediate knowledge and instantaneous gratification are just one more part of the everyday world which is forcing its way through our doors.
Lest you think I am railing against change let me assure you that this is not the case. None of us can stop change. However we cannot allow the creation of a mindset which revolves around the belief that instant gratification and instantaneous power and position are good things. I say this for the simple reason that we would simply setting ourselves up for failure if we allowed this to happen.
There are a number of factors which need to be considered at this point. Each of which forms a part of the overall fire service operational triangle:
Each of these taken by all by itself is an insufficient foundation for success. I have met well-trained people who were not highly educated. You can operate in this environment if the people are willing to listen to the voices of experience and reason. However, when training can be supplemented by education and experience, the road to the future becomes a bit smoother.
Here is the ideal sequence of affairs for preparing our people, at least as I see it:
- Find and recruit the right people
- Recruit training under a well-trained staff
- Mentorship by a veteran during the initial work assignment
- A guided system of education in the many aspects of the fire service
- The use of experience in a positive manner, viz. critiques after each incident to identify the good things as well as the problems
- Re-reading of the educational materials as a way of reinforcing the good things and overcoming the bad things which were identified during the critique.
- Making the whole process a continuing circle of learning, doing, critiquing and retraining.
No one should be exempt from their part in this loop of learning. There is no such thing as a well-trained, twenty-minute wonder. Each of us who wishes to excel must understand the demands which are made up us in the areas of learning, performing, and improving. The key methods which we should all consider employing are two-way dialogue, practical reasoning, active listening, and the simple act of sharing.
It may seem trite to tell you all that there is no "I" in we, but that is as simple as it gets. These "twenty-minute" wonders act as though the world revolves around them and the minimal amount of knowledge they have absorbed during the minimal amount of time they have been amongst us.
Many have been the times when my attempts to establish a dialogue have been rebuffed. I guess these folks look at me as one more old fool that has seen his day and should move along and let the new generation do whatever it is that they want. Sorry Charlie, I am one tuna that just isn't going to move along.
Regardless of how often my efforts are rebuffed, I can assure you that I will keep reaching out to share what I know. Most of your cards, letters, and emails tell me to keep on pitching, so that is what I intend to do.