I Am Clever


A Fine Line - Between Chaos and Creation

Everybody seems to think I'm lazy; I don't mind, I think they're crazy...

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Sunday, Week 8 - What Cadets/Military Has Taught Me
Jeffrey Tsk Tsk
Right on the heels of another cadet training weekend, and in the midst of a spur-of-the-moment decision on Tim's part to watch That Seventies Show (Netflix had it on his home screen, and when he found out that I hadn't seen it, decided that we should watch it), I come bearing two more valuable pieces of knowledge/experience I've gained from cadets/the military!

15. Punctuality

As a family with 6 kids, we were often late for a lot of things. It was embarrassing being "that family" that was always late, but I had kind of accepted it was a fact of life (it's not like there was a lot I could have done about it at the age of 9-10). In cadets, however, the phrase "if you're not 5 minutes early, you're late" gets drummed into you right from the get-go. If your class was starting at 0900, you were meant to be there reporting to the instructor at 0855 (at the latest), or face getting your entire division reamed out for being late. It started when I was a junior cadet at 13-14, and has continued on to this day in whatever job I may be doing - if your job/class has you starting at a specific time, you don't show up at that time. You show up early so you can be ready to start at that time. It's a simple principle, but cadets is where I learned it.

16. To care about the standard I set and what I accept

An officer once told me as a newly-appointed staff cadet, "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept", and a big component of all the leadership training we went through had to do with the kind of example we set for our subordinates. The idea being that you can say all you want to your cadets/subordinates, but if you don't back it up by your own actions, you're being a hypocrite. It's something that's really stuck with me, and I've really tried to do that for the cadets to follow.

Female cadets don't want to fix up their hair with a ton of gel because "I have school the next day"? Suck it up; my hair has even more gel in it than you would ever consider putting in, so I have to deal with it, too.

Cadets show up with horrible uniform? New instructors aren't prepared to teach classes they've known they had to prepare for well in advance? Cadets only want to show up to the fun weekends (sailing, etc), but won't sign up for fundraising weekends? Cadets are consistently making excuses for not attending due to "lots of homework"?

Nope, nope, nope, and NOPE. By my last year of cadets, I was in a full course-load of first-year university classes, and still managed to show up to just about everything. I missed one night due to a mandatory school concert, but that was it (and the officers/other staff cadets knew about it well in advance). Tell me again how your Grade 7-8 and/or 13-14YO school problems are making it too hard to show up to cadets? Tell me again how all your teachers magically assign tests the day after our parade night? Tell me again just how much homework you have?

Excuses for poor behaviour have never flown with me, and I stand by the idea that I will never ask cadets to do something that I'm not willing to do myself; nor will I let it slide if I see cadets misbehaving (whether it's me that speaks to the cadet or I pass it on to a staff cadet).

After all, just walking by and ignoring behaviour that is below the standards we set out for the cadets says that I think it's okay - and it's not (and should never be).

Book-Wrecking Day! Huzzah!

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Oh, man. Being late for everything! I hear you. It drove me nuts as a kid. I spent almost an entire year of school being late every day. "I was ready on time. Blame it on the rest of the family," is not going to cut it with the average school teacher. And certainly not every day! Clearly I should have sent my family through cadet training. :)

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