In the fire service today, it is alive and vibrant with positive change and learning. As a lifelong student of the fire service I limit my remarks on the many debates and only serve as an arbiter. I myself have become weary of those who wish to build up their agenda by demeaning and condemning others. Consider these points for a moment:
With all the wonderful discussion and learning that occurs amidst change we must ask:
Are our methods to share this information more condemning than explanatory?
“There is no point given someone a rose to smell if you cut off their nose.” Indian Proverb
“Never sacrifice a relationship in order to win an argument.” Chief Alan Brunacini
Consider our history, we have grown and changed constantly over the years. Each change was difficult but necessary. What we don’t want to happen in the process of change is to disregard the collective wisdom of our peers in the process. There are many fire service veterans and leaders who have been shunned and talked down to and for that we should be ashamed of ourselves.
“As passengers on the airplane we are trying to kill the pilot.” Chief Pete Lamb
We should be trying to explain our point of view and not merely trying to silence someone else’s.
Perhaps if we came to the table with a less defensive posture and took the time to read the other side of the story rather than quoting the parts that inflame and enrage others we would be already moving forward.
Perhaps if we seek to understand our fellow firefighters opinion and views rather than condemn them we might be progressing instead of tearing down the very foundations of the fire service that we each know and love?
“Seek first to understand than to be understood.” Saint Francis
As instructors, leader’s, and fire service professionals let us consider one another’s views, educate ourselves as much about their perspective and we may find the bridge to change lies in being more understanding to one another.
In closing, let us be positive agents for change, build others up, and not assassinate one another in the process. We do everything together in the fire service; let us not forget that.
“An opposing view isn’t a reason to attack, it’s an opportunity to build a relationship.”
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries