If there was one key attribute that summed up Geraldine Hendricks it was this: she demanded respect FROM every one of her students. She first gave that same respect TO every student from whom it was later demanded. There is a very good life-lesson that I learned from Mrs. Hendricks. It could serve all of us well, today.
I CAN’T DO MY BEST, ANYMORE
With the arrival of many of today’s law enforcement publications, I am saddened by the professionals in our community who seem to have become dysfunctional. Worse, some of them are in leadership roles, to boot.
Budgets and our ranks are shrinking faster than a pile of snow in June. We can’t do a good job any more.
Politicians have made public-sector unions and pensions into whipping posts to get reelected. We can’t do a good job any more.
The mentally ill are no longer being cared for by mental health agencies, as they were in the past. They have now become a burden for law enforcement. We can’t do a good job any more.
Of course, there is the “occupy” movement who seems to curry favor with politicians one day and we are told to “look the other way” when they break the law. In two shakes of a lamb’s tail, the political winds shift and the cops are at fault for not enforcing the law. Politics is having too great an effect on the cops. So … we can’t do a good job any more.
If I’m not doing as well as I did in times gone by, it must be the fault of someone else. I certainly couldn’t be held personally accountable for my actions or results.
WHAT ROLE DO YOU CHOOSE?
There are those in our midst who expect failure. And, that’s generally just what they get.
Their attitudes are sour. They are constantly scanning the horizon to discern what or whom will cause them to fail. Their water glasses are NEVER half full, but always nearly EMPTY.
They miss days of work too often. They are the recipients of complaints from otherwise solid citizens about their attitudes or actions. They have become embittered with life and with the job. They seem to thrive on being unhappy – maybe downright miserable.
There may be other symptoms: trouble at home, affection for the liquor bottle, or spending time with a girl friend while his wife tends the kids at home.
These are the cops who, like Mr. P of my childhood, use their authority to demean and maybe abuse others. It isn’t bad enough to cost him their jobs, but it is bad enough to make the good among us uncomfortable.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR AND EXPECTING SUCCESS?
If so, it will likely come your way. No, not always. But, it will most of the time.
My faith teachings taught me to strive to hold a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). Mom always said that life looks better when looking at it through a smile – rather than a frown. She was right.
Every day, we come across citizens who have lodged themselves into a pile of manure. Walking away, looking away and doing nothing are always an option.
I think of Mrs. Hendricks at the beginning of each new school year. Was every kid in her class a natural winner? I suspect not. Were there some known screw-ups with lots of previous discipline problems? I bet there were. Did she put them off in an corner while she focused just on the “good kids?” You can bet your backside that never happened.
She took control. She gave each student individual respect and demanded it be returned. No excuses. No exceptions. No nonsense.
Today’s cop is expected to do more, to work harder, to have fewer tools, employing fewer resources and yet produce a better outcome that his predecessors.
Based on their attitudes and constant whining, some cops have surrendered before they reported to roll call.
Others expect to win. They expect the community they serve to win. They expect every person to win. Even the people they arrest for bad behavior can one day win -- in the proper setting and with encouragement.
OUR ATTITIUDE WILL DETERMINE OUR ALTITUDE
Losing breeds losing, It breeds failure. Said in another way: nothing breeds success like succeeding. Amen.
Failed, negative attitudes by cops can create miscreants who can hurt everyone around them. Failure and a sense of ‘nothing-to-lose’ is often at the root of a criminal mind who hatefully takes the life of one our brothers/sisters in blue in the line of duty.