They are still at it. I have been writing about this matter for years, but the instant know-it-alls are still out there scoffing at the accumulated wisdom of the veteran members in their fire departments. Once again my friends, it is time to share my thoughts with you about something within our fire service which really makes me mad. As most of you know, I am a strong proponent of the concepts of participative management and servant leadership. I like people who play a part in organizations. However, perhaps it is time to place a couple of limiting statements on this caring, sharing approach to providing for your fellow travelers in the fire service world.
It has been my sad experience that we cannot give free reign to everyone simply because it seems like the fair thing to do in a free society. Not everybody knows what they are doing. Further, I think that there has to be an increased emphasis on the importance of experience to operations within our fire departments. Over the past decade or so, I have seen the development of a really disturbing trend among the younger members of our beloved fire service.
These are the people who learn everything they ever think they will need during their firefighter recruit training. These hooples return from the academy firmly convinced that they know it all. They are also equally certain that no one else could possibly know as much as they do, especially those 'old guys'. Woe be unto the veteran who makes the mistake of thinking that they need to correct any of the notions held by these instant veterans. Hence the name I have given them in the title of this week's visit with you.
In my youth much ado was made over a William Ward song made popular by the Dominos and the Persuasions. It was entitled The Sixty-Minute Man. Maybe some of you remember hearing it during a really passionate scene from the baseball movie, Bull Durham. Here are a few of the words that made me think:
"Well, listen here, girls, I'm telling you now,
They call me loving Dan,
I rock 'em, roll 'em all night long
I'm a sixty-minute man.
And if you don't believe I'm all I say,
Come up and take my hand.
As soon as I leave you go, you'll cry
Oh yeah, he's a sixty-minute man!"
This song was about an individual who possessed an amazing physical prowess in the arena of romance. The subject of this song deals with an individual who could grab a woman's attention, win her heart, and make her happy, all within the short space of a mere sixty minutes.
It is a nice song, with a catchy melody. I really like it. However, its premise is as far from reality a thought can possibly be. To truly win the heart of woman, much time, effort, love, and sincerity must be invested. You must come to know and understand the heart and soul of a woman (or man) before any sort of lasting commitment can be made.
In short you must devote the time and effort to learning how to love someone. It does not just happen. It is quite unlike what the romance novels and popular songs would suggest to us. I am here to say that the living of life requires massive commitments of time, talent, training, and education. These are the sort of topics which often fill the paragraphs of my visits with you. Let me also strongly suggest that these are the bottom-line things which go into learning how to practice your craft as a firefighter. It takes a heck of a lot more than good looks and good intentions to become a capable firefighter.
Yet I continue to encounter young folks who look at their recruit fire training at the local academy as the be-all and end-all of their journey through the fire service training forest. Let me suggest that I am well-qualified to say this to you based upon the perspective I have developed over my nearly five decades of service as a member of the fire and emergency service world.