Friday, July 3, 2009

how I deal

I am finding out that there are two types of people when it comes to dealing with crisis. One person will spin out of control with anxiety, and another will take in the situation and break it down and deal as such. For me, I would love to say I take whatever is thrown my way and shake it by the short and curlies but I would be lying. I fit somewhere in between the two depending on the situation. My ability to deal with crisis often depends on how much sleep I've had, how I've been eating, and how familiar or unfamiliar I am with the situation.

At work, I find that the training that we do gives me confidence and lessens the 'what ifs' anxiety. Our training drills are done over and over again that if for example, our air bottle should ever run out, we would know exactly how to respond. Training is applicable in everything that we do, from medical calls, CPR, hitting a hydrant, charging a standpipe.... how to find your way out of a burning building with zero visibility by feeling the shape of the couplings on the hose..... Adrenaline is also a great tool to get you out of a jam... the fight or flight human response is incredible. I love the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

At home, I find that I do not have training to fall back on. Everything about child-rearing is new territory for me. There is no manual or policy and procedure to follow, there is no weekly memo from HeadQuarters. Each child has its own individual personality and traits and idiosyncrasies and behaviours that are both endearing and hair-pulling at the same time. I do not know exactly how to respond to a tantrum for the cause and effect of each one is different. I can douse a fire by hosing it down. Dousing my child on the other hand probably isn't the best idea. What I am finding, however, that if I just take the lead of my children and understand what makes them tick, and guide them in the direction that I think is most constructive, there is no battle.

I was thinking of this in a weird abstract way and I realized too that fighting fires isn't about a battle either. Once you understand the chemistry and the nature of the fire it is much easier to deal with.

I have no idea really where I am going with this post (I'm a bit sleep deprived and should be in bed instead of trying to put together a coherent sentence) but I do have to say I don't think I would be as an effective parent if I weren't a firefighter and I think I make a better firefighter now that I am a parent.

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