Wednesday night I had to take some time for more scout training . I took the online course on Hazardous Weather, learning stuff that is actually quite relevant to all: where to take shelter during a thunderstorm, a tornado, or during flood conditions, and where not to take shelter, for example. I learned that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association has a great website that includes pages dedicated to providing weather alerts. The Scout training module was interactive, covering 10 topics; for each topic explanatory materials was presented, followed by various forms of tests. I liked the training on what a group of people should do if they are in an open field during a lightning storm; the individuals should spread out and stay low, because if they group together it is more likely they would be hit by lightning. Clearly this approach makes sense, but it unavoidably conveys the message: “if someone is going to be hit by lightning, take this approach so it won’t be you.” Perhaps not “unavoidably,” as the training module explained that the reason to stand apart from the others is not to make sure you don’t get hit, but to make sure you’re able to help others if they get hit.
All this training brought to my remembrance a talk I heard in the 1980s by a member of the LDS Church who was working as a meteorologist with the news team of a television network affiliate in Denver. He spoke at a fireside on a Sunday evening. He would receive calls at work, he told us, from people complaining about the weather – – they were calling not to complain about the weather forecast, but about the weather itself, and more specifically to complain that he had failed to deliver the type of weather they had wanted, the implication (or overt statement) being that he had failed to control the weather to their liking.