Sunday, July 24, 2011

Proper Prior Planning

 Before I present Part 3 of my shuttle memories, I wanted to go back a bit.  Part 1 and part 2 were posted previously, and in part 2 I discussed some of my middle school / junior high school experiences.  I think it's important to mention that during those years, my school was already preparing me for high school and college to come.

Along the way, I also learned what high school courses I would need to prepare for an engineering major.  Basically, 4+ years of math, 4+ years of science, meet the State requirements for graduation (4 years of English, 2+ years of foreign language...).

I think it might have been my high school, in a pre-enrollment presentation, that talked about Nebraska's Academic Honors diploma.

So by the time I started my Freshman year of high school, I had a pretty good plan of study already worked out.  I adjusted it some, as time went on.  Worked band in, as I got back into music.  Considered doing chorus for a year.  Thought about starting a second foreign language.

This kind of planning proved *critical* when we moved, and moved again.  Indiana's state requirements were a little bit different from Nebraska's, but not in the basics: Math, Science, English, foreign language.

Proper prior planning also came in another area.  I think I mentioned that I started babysitting about the time I was 12.  Before I started babysitting as a business, working for other families, I took at least two different babysitting courses (IIRC, one by 4-H and the other from the American Red Cross), and Infant/Child CPR.

My first CPR class, they pointed out that simply by taking the class, we were making a decision to help people.

Now, I haven't *stayed* certified the entire 20-mumble years since that time.  Sometimes I was, sometimes the cert lapsed and I didn't take another course for a while.  But for a layperson, a non-medical professional, I still try to stay alert to medical news in the mainstream media.  And when my workplace asked for volunteers to maintain first aid & CPR training, I stepped forward.

Knowing what to do makes a huge difference.  Training helps get through the initial "freeze" and "panic" phases, and move on to "think this through" and "useful action."

So when the tornado sirens went off while I was babysitting, I got the kids in the basement. Found, plugged in, and turned on a radio down there.  By the time the parents called, I was looking for their candles & a flashlight.

Twenty-mumble years later... When my son got sick last weekend, I mostly knew what to do.  There's about two things that, with hindsight, I probably could have done differently and "better," but for the most part that training / instinct was right on.  We got to the ER in a timely manner, everything worked out fine.  (He is well now.)

My CPR / First Aid certifications have expired again.  It's time to look for another course.