What is Indoctrination?
It’s the process of instilling ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology through education and traditions.
There may be some who call it by other names such as doctrine or conformity. There has been countless coffee table conversations regarding this topic and it all boils down to asking ourselves “are we teaching our recruits the right way?”
For some this process has started at an early age with a family member who has or is currently serving this honorable calling and they didn’t even know it was happening. For others it doesn’t come that easy and the academy is the first experience they will have to be exposed to the profession.
Indoctrination plays a vital role in setting the standard of what is to be expected from the recruits from day one. Be involved in the recruitment process. Make sure that the recruit has moral character and the willingness to learn as well as sacrifice of his or herself towards the greater good.
Far too often I hear fire officers and firefighters complain that there is a large divide between the generations entering the fire service. Here is a newsflash. It’s our faults for not indoctrinating, teaching, or showing the way to ensuring that the traditions and education that have been instilled in all of us are passed down.
Indoctrination also has another name which I like to call Leadership.
Below is an open letter to recruits.
As a fire service instructor it is my duty to indoctrinate you into MY beloved profession. and educate you in not only firefighting and survival tactics but in the history and traditions as well. I will strive to instill a work ethic into you so you may never give up on yourself and especially your fellow brother and sister firefighters.
The road which is ahead of you will not be an easy one. I will be hard but fair, yell and scream, but above all else I will be your mentor. I am not here to be your friend but if you pay attention to detail and listen to all of your instructors, the information you receive will keep you alive!
The title of “Firefighter” is earned. It is never taken or given. Firefighters have become one of America’s first lines of defense and it is your responsibility to be always at the ready. Your education doesn’t end when you walk out the doors on graduation day. Always seek knowledge, ask questions, and be involved. Keep yourself in good physical condition. Above all else, respect the title!
“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even of supreme sacrifice.”
Chief Edward F. Crocker (ret) FDNY