As is often the case in our life, the seed of this idea for my visit with you came from the message provided by one of my pastor's sermons. It is my guess that by now you have gotten the idea that all I do is scribble notes during my pastor's sermons. You would be right in pursuing this thought. So much good comes from my interaction with the church that I would be remiss if I failed to share these lessons with you.
There was the occasion when my pastor stressed the fact that our Lord had a clue that the troops had a propensity towards not paying attention. Could it be that he noted them sleeping when they should have been praying or learning the many lessons which the Lord needed to share with them.
However, despite his best efforts, no matter how many times he told them what was ordained to be in the future, they failed to understand. And sometimes, they could be down right unsupportive. Remember how they fell asleep when he asked them to pray with him. I bet he could have used a bit of company out there.
How many times have you, as instructors, felt that you were out there in the garden by yourself? Maybe it had to do with some critical safety issues. It might have been that new basic training program you wanted to start. Or it could have been that time you wanted to alter the delivery system for your department. For me it was the battle to bring the message of seatbelts to the masses in Adelphia.
How many times have you felt like you were out there all by yourself, on the end of a long, thin limb? While all about you the sound of snoring was intermingled with the buzz of chain saws cutting into the wood of your limb. Such can be the lot of a dedicated training officer in the "world of the tiny- brained."
Of course it might be that the brains are not all that tiny. However, they might be closed. It is sad to think of the number of folks in our training world who are forced to face an array of brains and minds which seem to be closed to the introduction of new approaches, concepts and ideas. How many times do you have to tell a fire chief something before he believes you? How many times do you have to hear that, "…if it was good enough for my father and grandfather, it is good enough for me"?
This almost sounds like one of those old ethic jokes about the changing of light bulbs. However, we cannot use that sort of humor any longer. Let me assure you that It still takes five firemen to change a light bulb. One to hold the light bulb, and four to criticize the choice of bulb, size of bulb, color of bulb and type of ladder to use. If this seems familiar to you, you are not alone.
Please notice that the bulb has yet to be changed. It is probably the training officer who will be give the job of getting those firemen together in order to get the bulb changed.
Perhaps you also remember those parts of the Biblical verse where the Lord urges his sidekicks to look, see and touch the result of the Roman's work. The part where he says, "touch and see, lest ye not believe. Heck, if you recall, even Doubting Thomas didn't believe right away.
How many Doubting Fire People do you work with? These are the people who learned their job once, and feel that they never need be shown anything new again in their careers. They are the ones who bring the old German Proverb to life; the one about empty barrels making the loudest noise.
You will recognize these people as they ones who:
1. Think that turnout gear is for sissies (even after all of these years).
2. Wear their SCBA upside down (if they wear it at all) and do not notice the difference.
2. Try to perform pump and roll operations in a pumper without a PTO unit.
3. Place and raise ground ladders, upside down.