Ideal Vs Real

When we talk about taking first aid classes these days, no one asks why you would take one.. but it’s certainly fair to ask why so many of us don’t.  After finishing up my Wilderness First Aid Training over the weekend I thought first of how things had changed since I was an EMT-Basic back in the 90s, or for that matter, even since my last first aid certification not that long ago. Then I thought of how screwed you could be if you were a few hours from a hospital with no one in your party having even the most basic first aid training.  Then I thought about how so many of us do it all the time.  Most of the time, we get lucky.

Today’s title, “Ideal Vs Real” is an idea that was presented during my weekend’s WFA training which was held near Black Earth, Wisconsin at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (see pic above). The phrase stood out to me as one of the most “real” things anyone has said in awhile.  There’s the perfect way, the “ideal” way, the “expensive gear way” to everything in life.  Hardly is that ever the real way. Especially when first aid (or sea kayaking) comes to mind.  Besides, for us adventurous types what could be more perfect than the chance to experience the less than ideal?  Isn’t that what it’s all about.. Blowing off “central air” for a while?  Getting back to “real”?

In sea kayaking we address the “Ideal vs Real” issue with this phrase, “Safe, Efficient & Effective”.  It’s not about doing what I do as your coach, or about what I or someone else says is, “Ideal”.  It’s about what gets you there safely, efficiently and effectively. “Ideal” in coaching is nothing more than a model, a point of clarity or an easily understood example.  How a student achieves the end goal is a pallet of limitless possibilities that we as coaches simply check against the “SEE” rule. If the goal is achieved Safely, efficiently and effectively it’s much more important for us as coaches to offer our students praise, than it is to start comparing what they’ve done to something we have deemed as “ideal”.  Let’s be honest here, if they really love the sport, they’ll be doing that to themselves soon enough.

Now I can get back to resting my ankle for a couple days.  I thought it was getting better over the weekend but today I’m paying for it a bit.  For some reason I hadn’t noticed the cool purple bruising until last night.  I won’t blame the guy who kept smacking it yesterday while learning to create proper splint either!!  And before you say, why was I letting folks “work” on my bad ankle… I think I was volunteered…

Well, that’s just one of the sacrifices you make in the name of education.  I mean, can it get any more real than that? Come to think about it, for someone just learning to create a splint I can’t think of a situation more ideal either. (Although a bit painful!)

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