At what point does an individual forget where they came from or stop being progressive in the fire service. Unless a person sucks their way through the ranks or back doors a position of management, we should NEVER forget what got us to be successful in our craft! If a person wants to aspire to be a chief officer or "the" chief officer, they would have to have some sort of education that takes years to accomplish. These classes take time and dedication. The material is usually more progressive than not. Hence, them making changes to curriculums and printing new material for said classes. At what point does "that" person say, "You know what, I can't be taught anymore. I know everything there is to know in the fire service and now I know it all. What I know is NOT going to change, now that I have ALL the information. Anyone questioning me or my authority is just a jealous unhappy line guy." That is such BS! If you do make it to an executive officer status, don't think for a second that just because you took a class a few years back that you won't ever need to take that class again. It's the fartherest thing from the truth. As a Company Officer, I challenge my guys to know more than I do. I don't say that with an errogant tone or an "I'm better than you" attitude. I take a lot of pride in the education I have been fortunate to enough to attend. And am VERY grateful for the handful of leaders (not just officers, even firefighter leaders) that have had passion enough to encourage me to push myself and GAIN KNOWLEDGE.. to complement the OJT (on the job training). I tell my crew often that I am not above rebuking from my subordinates. (They know the difference in insubordination and a polite denotching of ones high horse.) They may see things from a more constructive point of view. On scene and off. This type of relationship builds a working family unit. I set the "ground rules" when I receive a new crew member and they must "earn" their place at the feeding table. But first and foremost, they are strongly encouraged to read periodicals and training papers/vidoes/power points. Train, train, train and ask questions! Why is it that as soon as "that" individual reaches a certain place in their career do they think everyone beneath them is just that...beneath them. One should teach respect for positions and teach your fellow firefighters to be PRO-ACTIVE, NOT REACTIVE. One can learn large amounts of knowledge from even the newest firefighter. Remember, they are fresh to the business and are VERY eager to learn and perform. You have an obligation as an American Firefighter to instill the passion for the job and pass on the time honored traditions that set this occupation apart from the rest! Don't take your knowledge with you to your grave, unless you plan on starting your own fire department in hell. Share it, keep learning new stuff to pass on to your Brothers and Sisters. The best flattery for me is seeing firefighters get motivated to learn, that means I am leading by example. That is the best way to lead! Oh, and NEVER, EVER pop off with "I've been doing this for 40 years blah, blah, blah..." It just might prove you have been doing it for 40 years WRONG. Not to mention, this fire service isn't the same as it was last year. Much less, 40 years ago. If you are popping off with that kind of comment, maybe it's time for you to take up that hobby you've always talked about or travel with misses to all the places you still want to see. Don't forget where you came from! Constantly challenge yourself to be a better, more educated firefighter. The dividends are reciprocated. You gain as your Brother/Sister gain and vice versa.

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