After being motived by the Courage and Valor run I set out to start a routine with my son. After a run with a fellow firefighter we were walking to cool down. My son took out his phone and started to text. A second later and he walked towards the center of the road. My friend stated "cul-de-sac kid." He was referring to lack of awareness of traffic as a result of growing up on a dead end road.
Cul-de-sacs have been around before the Roman Empire. They provided a military advantage in case of attack and served to confuse, slow down and possibly trap an invading army. This layout would cause the army to lose perspective.
This cuts both ways, cul-de-sac kids often lose perspective. Being guarded from all harm on the dead end leaves them vulnerable on all sides. Staying on the dead end is not a option. We all have to leave our own dead ends and experience the world.
We have all experienced this mindset when a chief or union boss states “that’s the way we always done it.” Especially when they have no understanding of why it was done that way in the first place. This is why education, networking and conferences like FDIC our so critical to our professional growth. There is another world outside the confines of our departments.
The way we do things my not be the best way. We can all do better to understand the job. It is your responsibility to master politics, science and customer service. No our job is not just about pulling hose and breaking doors down. For our service to thrive we must break free from our comfort zone.
We must learn about how government works. Only than can we learn to navigate through the complex relationships, budgets and an endless bureaucracies. Keep in mind that there will be roadblocks on every path.
Persistence is the key to success in advocating for our service. Do not lose faith even when faced with disappointment. Just as in DC no road leads directly to the Capital, so the next time your lost in the District of Columbia, note that was the intended purpose. However with persistence and a willingness to leave the cul-de-sac we will get there together.