William Petty with Centrifuge Training, LLC recently wrote a Facebook post in response to questions he had received about becoming a firearms instructor. As I read the very first piece of advice he gave, I thought…wow! That applies to being a police officer’s wife, girlfriend, mother, etc. Here’s what he said:
A good mentor can be valuable in firearms training or in police-wife training! (OK—now THAT’s what we all need! A good course on police “wifeing”!) The best mentor is someone who helps you see the destination but doesn’t give you a detailed map of how to get there. Someone who is interested in your being successful. Someone who shares resources and information with you. Someone who challenges you. Someone who teaches you specific things. Someone who gives you clarity.
I see many LEO wives and girlfriends reaching out for a mentor. They are searching for someone in the same squad car boat to help them make sense of a life that sometimes can’t make sense. They want someone or someplace where they feel safe to ask questions. Hard questions. Uncomfortable questions. Even embarrassing questions. They want someone to give good advice. They want someone they can listen to and who will listen to them. They want someone they can watch and see how it’s done. They want a mentor.
There are lots of websites, social media groups, etc. out there who are attempting to meet this need. I follow many of these and read lots of postings on social media from police wives and girlfriends reaching out for someone who knows the ropes to throw them a lifesaver. And, sometimes I’m disheartened because the very groups who set out to help, seem not to be helping at all. One wife is frustrated about something which has happened in her police life and vents about it in the group. The whole group begins commiserating about how terrible the job is, the chief is, the pay is, the union is, the partner is, the training is, the shift is, the system is, the society is. We all instinctively focus on the negative. It’s called negativity bias—which simply means even when positive, negative and neutrally-perceived things are completely equal, the negative ones will have a greater impact on you than the positive or neutral ones. If that’s not enough to convince you that you made a mistake marrying a police officer, add a good dose of mob mentality and before you know it, you’ll be certain of your mistake!
So, what do you do? Never reach out? Of course not! But, don’t just reach out for anyone…search out the right people to help you. Find a good mentor.
SPOILER ALERT: Stay tuned for a new post on finding the right mentor for you!