Last week I offered a Merry Christmas to the dumb-asses of the world. From the volume of email messages that I have received from you, it is my belief that a responsive chord has been struck out there in the world amongst you. With this thought in mind, I would especially like to offer my support to the folks in Sarasota County, Florida. My annual trip to play circus music in Sarasota is fast approaching, and I will soon be amongst you.
It is my feeling that my point about the dummies has been made. This week it is my desire to take a completely different tack with the words of my commentary. There are those among you who have the potential to do great things. Unfortunately many of you may not be aware of either your future role or your potential for greatness.
This week it is my wish to offer a message designed to motivate you to do good works in the coming year. The ending of one year and the beginning of another is as good a time as any to make wishes, set goals, and creates vows that will allow you to change the way in which you live in the coming year.
Have you ever felt as though you were a person whose ideas were ahead of their time? Maybe you were the one who wanted to get SCBA for your department in the 1970's. Perhaps you were the one who pushed for the use of Class A foam in the 1980's. Or could it be that you were the one who pushed for the use of Incident Command procedures long before it became a mandate from the President?
If these describe you, than it may be that you have served your fire department as an official sage. Our friends at Webster describe the word sage in a number of ways:
- Wise through reflection and experience
- Characterized by wisdom, prudence, and wise judgment
- One distinguished for wisdom
- A mature or venerable person of sound judgment
Now if you are anything like me, and have pushed for change, the treatment you probably received did not give you pause to believe that you were venerated, or even appreciated. Nonetheless you pushed ahead because you believed it was the right thing to do. That action might also qualify you for dreamer status.
Dreamers look at the world around them and ask a simple question; what if. They see things as they might be, not just as they are. They are constantly looking for a better way to do this task or accomplish that procedure? They usually march to the beat of a different drummer.
Being a change agent, dreamer, or sage, usually comes with a steep price tag attached. Choosing to become a dreamer sets you out in front of the majority of your fellow travelers in the fire service. It also allows you to become the poster boy (or girl) for abuse and contempt. These two forms of abuse are usually born out of fear and ignorance. People do not like change and thinkers, dreamers, and sages represent change. They do not like people who rock the boat of life.
Be not afraid my friends. Do not stop dreaming. Let me suggest to you that the world is spinning way too fast, and morphing far too frequently for us to depend on the concept of doing things the way we always have done them. Let me strongly suggest that we must look to the future and begin to prepare for the way things are going to be.
Let me suggest you look deeply within yourself for that spark which can ignite a fire of enthusiasm for your fire department. I say this for a reason. A recent Firehouse.com poll asked their readers to state the top gift that Santa Claus could bring to their fire department. Fully 25 percent of poll respondents indicated that they would like Santa to bring them new leadership.
I think that it quite revealing that the top gift that people wanted was new leadership. Hmm, I wonder. Might this not be something about which I have been writing and preaching for some time now? You bet your butt it is. Leadership is the number one problem keeping us from coming together and achieving great things.