A few days ago I went to our church’s Wednesday night Leader session titled, “The Leadership State of Mind”. Having been in the church for over 10 years, I’ve heard a lot on leadership. A lot of great stuff. But this one was particularly life impacting.
“When leaders understand the stakes everybody wins.”
“Leaders intercept entropy – the lack of order and predictability, the gradual decline into disorder.”
“Out of the furnace of frustration, we forge leadership metal.”
He talked about examples of leaders: men like Moses, Billy Graham and Popeye. Some of us probably grew up watching Popeye. Olive Oyl was the special girl in his life. Popeye’s demeanor was usually calm and collected. But if something happened that would potentially harm her, he exploded. He would shout, “That’s all I can stand, and I can’t stands no more!”
The he asked the question: “What is it that you can’t stand?”.
Now for those of you who don’t know me, let me say this before I continue. I think about cops a lot. When I see one, I say hi and usually introduce myself. I spend a Friday night per month riding along with one of my local departments. And when one gives the ultimate sacrifice, I post my condolences, and I always contact their department. And at a police officer funeral, I learned some important lessons about life.
So tonight was no different. Police Week 2010. My next ride along in Miamisburg. Who’s next : Riverside or Dayton? Officer suicide. Lots of things were going through my mind when he asked the questions:”What is it that you can’t stand?” “What is it that wrecks you?” At that point something happened inside me. Tears came to my eyes. My heart ached at the thought.
What is it that I can’t stand? What “wrecks” me?
I can’t stand the thought of a cop sitting lonely in their cruiser on Christmas morning.
It “wrecks me” that a cop somewhere wondering if their life matters.
I can’t stand the thought that over 30% of officers have thought about suicide.
It “wrecks me” that officers are killing themselves at a rate more than twice as high as the general public.
Before you say “Well Mike, that could be true of Army vets, or___________________”. You may be right. But I’m not sent to them. I am sent to Police Officers. I try to encourage them whenever I can. I tell them that there are good people. What I really want them to know is that someone cares. I care.
It’s my goal that no officer in Ohio or Kentucky will ever have to wonder if they are appreciated. That no officer on a beat on Christmas morning will wonder if anyone cares if they are out there. That no officer who has a 2 year marriage and a newborn who gets to spend a couple of hours on a holiday with his young family will go to work and wonder why.