Do you remember being urged to share with others when you were a child back in the 1950's ('60's, 70's 80's)? That was one of the primary lessons stressed in school, in church, and at home during my formative years. If you had two of something and your friend had none, you were urged to share what you had.
During high school, the concept of teamwork came to the fore. It was necessary for a number of us to come together in order to create a football team, wrestling team, or a track and field squad. The strong covered for the weak and the good compensated for the average. The result was the product of a shared response to the need for teamwork.
Each of us contributed to the greatest extent possible. Some of us were good blockers, while other could stop a tank with their tackles. Plus we had one top-flight, all-conference caliber runner. The result was a conference championship in the fall of 1964.
Things seemed to have changed over the past 40 years. Rather than focusing outward, many people now appear to have adopted an opposing view of life. There seems to be a growing trend in our society. People are now living lives that have turned inward.
The literature of the sociological field now speaks of a lifestyle whereby people seek to do everything at home. I believe this is known as cocooning. Think about it. There is telecommuting. You can work from your home. You can acquire a home theater. In some places you can have fast-food meals of all types delivered to your home. In still other places, businesses are springing up that will provide three meals a day to you at your home, or at the very least deliver your groceries to your home.
We seem to be headed toward a new society where we burrow into our homes much like groundhogs burrow into the earth. This trend is really distressing to me. I like people. It has been my experience that human interaction is a really neat thing. It is a positive phenomenon.
Think about this. How could we ever have a fire service if everyone stayed home? The success of a fire department is based upon the coming together of a group of people. Our strength grows from our sharing.
The concept of sharing lies at the center of our world. The best results occur when the individual team members contribute their labors to the group. They share their time, knowledge, experience, and labors. The strength of the group comes from the interaction of individuals who possess disparate skill sets.
Many people have good mechanical skills. Others do not. However, these other people may have excellent people skills, or organizational skills. My brother and I are the perfect example of this. We come from the same home and the same parents, yet we possess two entirely different skill sets.
Bob has all of the mechanical skills possessed by our late father. You name it and Dad could do it. So too can my brother Bob. I have trouble holding a hammer, let alone making it do something. Painting, plumbing, electrical work, you name it and Bob can do it. Whether it is a broken lawn mower or a family car that will not start, Bob can make them work again. Not so with me my friends.
My skills and abilities have moved in an entirely different direction. My skills will allow me to interview people about all sorts of things and then create word pictures of what they do and what they have accomplished. My ability to speak allows me to share what has been learned during my life with the students I teach.
Bob and I were both battalion chiefs on the same shift. Our shared skills as fireground commanders were based upon each of us sharing in the completion of our designated mission. Where he needed my help I gave it. Where I needed his, he shared willingly. The citizens got a heck of a bargain from our collective collaborations. There was a certain symbiotic effect that exponentially broadened the impact of our sharing. We also proved that you can be your brother's keeper.