"Look At The Refugees"

by

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

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I took ninth grade civics class at the height of the cold war. We studied a variety of government types and political philosophies. I had the distinct impression that we were being told that some forms of government were evil and others were good. So, I asked my teacher, "How do you tell good government from bad?" She looked a bit surprised, then grinned broadly, looked me straight in the eyes  and said, "Look which way the refugees are running. You see, people will run away from, not towards, oppression."

I have never forgotten her words.

While my teacher's  observation was directed towards governments, I believe the principle she stated can be broadly applied to most, if not all, situations involving people and choices.

Her words were simply another way of viewing the adage popularized in the movie, Field of Dreams:

"If you build it, they will come!"

Twenty years ago, here in Michigan, it was difficult to find a place to park at popular dive sites. Dive training was an all day event. If you did not arrive before 8 am,  it was tough, if not impossible,  to find a reasonable parking space close to the dive site. Now, in many places, dive training starts at nine and is finished before noon. Parking is ample and water visibility, especially after noon,  is much improved 'cause there are fewer divers in the water to disturb the bottom sediment. Those who operate training facilities say they don't see many folks after the first weekend of open-water training.

Apparently, participation in recreational  diving is not what it once was. People do not seem to be running towards our sport.

The point is:

If you want repeat business, then give your students the time it takes for them to develop in-water comfort (see The Primitive Brain ) and

Give them value for their money. 

(Most of the folks I talked to in I Used to be a diver strongly objected to their initial training.. After all, as students, they bet their lives, as well as their wallets, on an instructor's demonstrated expertise and in-water skill. They want training, not "info-mercials.") 

If you do this, then students will seek, rather than flee from, your training.

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About The Author: 

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. is a biochemist and Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan. He has authored more than 100 scuba related articles. His personal dive library (See Alert Diver, Mar/Apr, 1997, p. 54) is considered one of the best recreational sources of information In North America.

  Copyright 2001-2005 by Larry "Harris" Taylor

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Use of these articles for personal or organizational profit is specifically denied.

These articles may be used for not-for-profit diving education