My Twitter bio (@thesquadroom) has a line of self-deprecation in it – “Professional cop, amateur dad, finding fitness and wellness one day at a time and sharing the journey with other LEOs.”
In reality, I do consider myself a professional peace officer – and so should you. I’ve gone through the laborious screening process; the mandatory 24-week academy; plus countless hours on in-service training. I am a trained professional, and I receive compensation. As a result, you and I are uniquely qualified to do a job that we know not everyone can – or should – do.
I joke that I’m an amateur father for a few reasons. First, it’s apparent that I fail as often as I succeed trying to raise two young children into functioning adults, capable of keeping their pants on in public. Second, it’s not my profession. I’ve received exactly zero hours of formal instruction in parenthood or the nuances of fatherhood.
There’s no academy for expectant fathers (yes, I agree maybe there should be but then what would we do at work all day?). I don’t receive an email from the State’s Department of Parenthood every quarter advising me of when and where my in-service training will be held.
Keep in mind, I live in California so if ever there were a state to have such a public agency, I’m in it!
Truth is, being a professional cop often doesn’t lend itself well to being a father. The skill transfer is not always beneficial and though I know I’ll be able to run my kid through field sobriety tests better than my parents did, the personal interaction is usually what’s lacking.
If you’re wondering what I mean, has your spouse ever said this while you’re admonishing your children: “Don’t talk to them like one of your suspects!”
If you get this response, pause for a moment and you might see that you have them seated with their legs out in front of them, crossed at the ankles with their hands in their lap. That’s a clue. (For those of you in corrections, if you’re kids leave their room and walk through the house with their hands behind their back, that’s a clue too).
It’s a documented fact (at least in my house), that at least one fight with your spouse will erupt annually about your use of law enforcement tactics on those in your home.
This is always (ok, almost) entirely unintentional to me and just an extension of how I investigate and handle problems; but to my wife who knew me before law enforcement, she sees the difference in my approach – and she’s not a fan.
We’re cops, we don’t accept bullshit and we see through the deception people try to display to the world. Even if that’s my 3 year-old professing shock and amazement at how muddy footprints in his shoe-size made it into the house, I have a strong unyielding desire and laser-like focus to disprove his lies and get to the truth.
If you’ve ever considered setting up the extra bedroom into an interrogation room with a single dangling lightbulb and one-way mirror, maybe you’re going too far.
So what does this all have to do with fitness and optimizing our lives?
Good question…and to be honest, I’m not sure. But two thoughts came of this. 1) Being a professional in one area doesn’t mean you’re acting as a professional in other areas of your life; and 2) If we’re so good at detecting other people’s bullshit, how is it we can so easily deceive ourselves?
Part 2 of “Turning Pro” will be up in a few days. Until then, I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What in your off-duty life do you approach with a professional’s attitude? Why do you think we’re capable of deceiving ourselves while simultaneously being so good at spotting it in others?