Ask any firefighter that has been in the fire service for a few years what is their biggest struggle and you will often hear: “I am tired of the constant negativity that surrounds me and I know that it is having an effect on me.
How can I be positive influence in such a negative environment?”
Unfortunately, many firefighters fall victim to the trap of bad moral, negativity, and bitterness. Rather than focus on the negativity of others the questions we should ask ourselves are:
How did we let the best job in the world become such a burden to our soul?
How did we transition from vibrant, passionate, and energetic to the sad, negative, and poisoned spirit?
Consider the words of Victor Frank:
“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way that I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of ones freedoms is to choose ones attitude in any given circumstance.”
With the constant exposure of occupational stress, financial struggles, and sleep deprivation it is no surprise that a firefighter’s attitude eventually suffers. Then we add the demands of our family schedules, the usual problems of life, and we suddenly have become disheartened. We feel unappreciated and are tired of the false brotherhood that many firefighters portray. However, a lifetime of serving others should not leave us broken, destitute, alone, and bitter.
So where do we go from here? How do we refresh or renew our spirits when they become weary?
The answer is simple yet one of the most difficult decisions we will have to make. It begins by deciding that we will no longer allow others, circumstances, or this world to destroy our passion for what we have been called to do.
“Without realizing it we often carry something around with us everywhere we go. We bring it out in our conversations and it shows up in our attitudes. It never really existed, yet its power lives among us and keeps us from moving forward.” (Stress is a choice)
Our attitudes determine our outlook. If we decide that today is going to be bad day we have already predetermined our outcome and all that see us will be affected by the dark cloud that hovers over us. We have actually infected others with our negativity without even knowing it. Our decision to let others, circumstances, or this world control us has lead others down the same dark road.
We shall begin anew and this is new easy process. It begins by recognizing that the problem is ourselves. We have to take ownership of our attitudes, our behaviors, and our actions. We must take a firm grip upon our words and realize that, whether we realize or not, that our attitude is impacting our families, our friends, and our world around us. We took an oath to make a difference and to leave the situation better than we found it; and the biggest difference we can make is in our attitudes among others.
Welcome to a new oath! As a firefighter, we took an oath upon entering the service of our fellow man. Now we have reached the next step of our journey in which we will take ownership of our attitudes. This is called the
Firefighter Be-Attitude Contract.
What is a Be-Attitude you ask? The Beattitudes come from the sermon on the Mount in the Bible in Matthew Chapter 5 versus3-12. This is not a religious contract between you and God. Many great firefighters are from various religious backgrounds and non-believers. This is a process to help firefighters take ownership of their attitude based on the principles outlined in the Bible.
I am not requiring nor advocating that you must believe in God for these principles to work in your own life. I am a follower of Christ and therefore my perspective is based on the values from God’s word. With that being said let us begin with step one in the Firefighter Be-attitude Contract.
Taking Ownership of our attitudes- Take a sheet of paper and write the following: I ___________, am responsible for my attitude, my words, my behaviors, and my actions. I will no longer blame others, blame circumstances, and blame the world. I will not allow others to influence me in a negative way. To insure this occurs, I will not merely repeat this creed and then fall back into my old ways; I will install accountability measures in my life as a reminder that I cannot do this alone. These accountability measures are the following people:_________________. They are close to me, see me on a regular basis, and I will not be angered if they tell me that my attitude is beginning to darken.
Print several copies of this and place it where it can be seen regularly such as: the mirror in our bathroom, the inside of our fire department locker, and on the dashboard of our vehicle.
Congratulations! You have just begun the journey to reigniting the fire within your heart! Take this commitment seriously and inform your accountability measures of your goals.
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries