By the Bridge

Many will be returning or thinking of returning to school, university or college during the next while. I remember my first day of college after being out of high school for over 13 years. I was never a “top” student, but I needed to go to fulfill my dream of becoming a police officer. Attending college was daunting and filled with apprehension and confusion. The first days of the Criminal Justice program at Lethbridge College were a blur as I wandered around from class to class in a lost state. I was fortunate to get a summer practicum position at the Lethbridge Police Service after the first year was done and, as they say, the rest is history.

Throughout my life I have learned that education does not just happen in the classroom. I’ve learned from those I’ve had the fortune to interact with and at times more than any book I’ve picked up. As mentioned in my previous article, I’ve sat down and conversed with many people, from those who suffer from addictions to those involved in government. I am always listening for snippets of information that I can adopt and use as a “life lesson”. I’ve learned that we all have similarities regardless of the colour of wrap that God gave us. We all bleed red, we are all created the same and we all have hopes and dreams.     

I love to sit down with the elderly and listen to their stories as they are living historians, story tellers and philosophers. One such man was “John”, a 99-year-old man who spent time as a young soldier in the Second World War. We spent hours together and we spoke of many things including his time during the war. He spoke of parachuting into France during the D-Day invasion and his fears during those times. He spoke of the other people in his unit and their fears while facing the guns of their enemies. One lesson I learned from him was that regardless of the potential outcome – death, in his case - you must face your fears and charge forward. This mindset is very much needed for the policing environment today.   

For many years I let my fears dictate my actions. Remembering John’s advice about facing my fears has allowed me to grow in emotional intelligence and self-esteem.  One fear I had was to randomly approach people to start a conversation or even ask a question. Another fear I had, which many people have, is to speak publicly in front of a crowd. My job has pushed me to do both and having faced those fears I now enjoy both. For my kids and for some friends I mentor, I frequently share some of those life lessons I have learned. 

We are all on the journey of learning, and everything and everyone we encounter can share a valuable lesson. Some of us are just starting the journey and some of us are far down the road. For all of you on the journey, let me share life lesson #1 … enjoy the journey.
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