I would like to point out that my comments are not focused on my friends in military, law enforcement, EMS, and other professions who value continual training, and refresher training. My friends in these professions are truly examples for all of us. What I would like to address is a growing trend I have witnessed over the past several years. I would like to call this trend “Act like you know.”
In the military, law enforcement, EMS, and other professional organizations, continual training is required to maintain certifications and competency. Training is what you do. In essence, it is in mastering the basics that you become a true master of your craft. In the years since 9/11/01 it seems like every time I turned around, there was more training to do. In order to deploy overseas training focused on shooting, moving, communicating, and the golden hour of medicine. Those skills were non-negotiable and we even trained while we were deployed. We also trained on force protection, new methods of doing our jobs, operational security, travel safety, and situational awareness. It never got old, and we all knew that training is what you do to be proficient and avoid becoming a danger to yourself and others. Most of us were wary of the people who believed they had enough training, or somehow believed they were above refreshing themselves on the basics. Many of those individuals learned enough about topics to answer quiz questions, but could not master the tasks being taught. We called that “Act Like You Know.”
Recently, we have provided training at a lot of civilian venues. Women flock to our Anti Kidnapping and Hostage Survival Course along with men from the professional categories I listed above. Other men avoid the training like the plague. One of my favorite observations is to watch these men quiz their wives on what they learned afterward, as they nod approvingly and rattle off the “act-like-you-know” facts to protect their man card. In many cases the facts they rattle off are wrong, incomplete, or make these “act-like-you-know” professionals lose credibility with their wives. I love to people watch and see the expressions of these women as their husbands try to BS their way through protecting their man cards. It is these men that I am calling out. I look at statistics everyday on kidnapping, extortion, crime, and terrorism. I do not want to be the bearer of bad news but men are being kidnapped or victimized as often as women. In many cases men are being targeted more frequently. Some of the statistics show that families are often the target, and the man is abused in front of the family. “Act Like You Know,” is a sure way to turn your world upside down when you can’t deliver for your loved ones. I am going to poke some of you in the eye and tell you that the only way some of you are going to survive is because your wife received training.
How do you protect your man card? I have been honored to be surrounded by some of the best and most accomplished Special Forces, SEALs, MARSOC Raiders, Rangers, PJs, CCTs, Law Enforcement, EMS, SERE Specialists, and other quiet professionals. I have been in awe at many of them and their accomplishments, and in comparison, can only hope to measure up to half of them. These professionals train every day. Not only are they constantly learning, but they revisit the basics almost daily. Most of these professionals are always humble and want to improve their craft in some way every day. I learned early on that anytime I had an opportunity to train and improve, I should jump at it. I took courses like field sanitation gratefully, and while feedback is often painful, learned to accept criticism as a way to improve. The way to protect your man card is to improve every day and take refresher training constantly. Master the basics and revisit them often. The worst thing you can do is to “Act Like You Know.”