After an encounter on base at Nellis last night and after the mention of the Warriors at Ease training on our Facebook page, I thought this was a good time to mention cultural sensitivity.
Unless you were (or are!) in the military or you have some sort of military understanding and background, it can be overwhelming going into a military setting. There are many more rules to abide by on base than off base. For example, when I first moved to 29 Palms I ran to the Exchange one afternoon to grab something for lunch. As I was walking in I was stopped by a female Marine who proceeded to tell me I couldn’t go in wearing flip-flops. What? I couldn’t wear flip-flops? Since then the rules have changed, but it was my first taste of the on base experience.
The moral of this story is to show you that teaching on base is not as simple as getting the job and teaching the classes. You need to educate yourself on the population that you are working with. You need to be aware of the rules and regulations that change once you get on base.
The reason I mentioned the Warriors at Ease training was because cultural sensitivity and the military environment are topics that are greatly covered in the workshops. It can be very helpful for those who are completely new to the experience and it can be a refresher for those who have had these experiences before.
I thought this would be an informative post after an experience I had last night as I was heading to teach yoga on base at Nellis. The end of the duty day on base is typically marked by a ceremony, where the flag is lowered and “Retreat” is played. All activity, even if you are driving, on base stops for those few minutes and then proceeds once the song completes.
As “Retreat” began, I slowed and stopped, just beginning to exit a stop sign. Although all the other cars around were doing the same thing, one car pulls up (quicky) behind me and lies on their horn. I pause for a second, hoping she will realize everyone is clearly stopped. But she does not, honks again,then manages to speed off around me.
Normally I would just shake my head and try not to let it bother me. But this ceremony is a tradition in which to honor the U.S. Flag, explained in detail in this article. Is getting to your destination .3 seconds earlier really that much more important than stopping to partake in something that is such an important part of military tradition? I don’t think so.
So please, those of you who are interested in working with the military community. Invest in educating yourself about the history, traditions and rules and regulations of being on base. Please :)
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here is a video from YouTube of the end of the duty day ceremony.