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What Would Godzilla Do?
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 01/01/2018

Bouchard godzilla The following is an installment in "Icebreakers 101: Hello, My Name is Problem", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.

What do Matthew Broderick, Raymond Burr and Bryan Cranston have in common? All three of these American actors have appeared in a Godzilla movie in different decades.

Godzilla is an international icon, a mega monster who appeared in dozens of movies and is even the subject of a classic hard rock song. Godzilla has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. The fame of the monster is based on its overwhelming power. In short, Godzilla can do almost anything.

Can you use a quirky icebreaker that can segue into use of force module? This is also a useful icebreaker that addresses professionalism. The premise for this is “We have to be professional, prisoners do not.”

It is as easy as delivering four questions in the formula form. These are answered in turn by each student. The questions are:
  1. What is your name?
  2. What is your position
  3. How many years have you been in the field?
  4. What would you do if you were Godzilla?
As an example, the facilitator would provide answers. If it were me, the answers would be:
  1. My name is Joe Bouchard.
  2. I am a prison librarian.
  3. I have 23 years in the corrections profession.
  4. If I were Godzilla, I would walk through Chernobyl, not missing a single building.
Answers, of course, will vary. Perhaps some do not have the need to commit closure for a Cold War event. Maybe there are other cities to vanquish or more specific topics. That is the beauty of this exercise. There will be a variety of answers. Each of which have the potential to illustrate a want or need of a participant. Groups that share have the potential to grow as a group and push the limits of training in a positive manner.

Per the lyrics of Blue Oyster Cult’s 1977 song “Godzilla”: “History shows again and again that nature points up the folly of men…”

With that in mind, just because we have the force does not mean that we must follow folly. In other words, unlike the reptilian colossus, we simply cannot do what we want when we want to do it. However, we have many choices in how to handle the less than professional encounters we have with offenders who wish to push the envelope. Clearly in our vocation, there are policies and procedures to follow. This exercise is useful to demonstrate that there is a vast chasm between what we could do and what we will do.

Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014” and "Operation Icebreakers: Shooting for Excellence" among others. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.

Visit the Joe Bouchard page

Other articles by Bouchard:


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