First, I again want to say thank you to all the Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers and Administrators who have made it possible for me to distribute this message.
This marks the third year that I have been reaching out to you on the holidays. It’s my hope that you have been encouraged, helped, or supported in some way with these notes. For those of you just hearing from me for the first time, welcome. Last year I talked about adversity, but this year I want to talk about something a little less serious. Actually, a LOT less serious. Humor and joy.
I know that you work in a serious job, and quite literally, can be a “matter of life and death” at times. Some of you have seen some of the worst that life has to offer. I’ve heard or read some of the stories. I have a policy that I never ask. But I’ve been told some of them, and I just want to say that I would never want to make light of that.
During some of my reading I’ve came across this as a theme. From Bad days to PTSD, the experts say that one of the keys is keeping a sense of humor. A sense of humor is actually good for us.
Growing up in Eastern Kentucky, I remember watching the news and the Brad James weather forecast. If Brad said it, it was so. If he said it would rain, I was looking for the umbrella. He was also known to pull off a prank or two. He did an annual April Fool’s Day joke, one of which he told viewers of his trip to “The Thousand Islands”, home of the “famous salad dressing”.
I’m sure we all know someone like that, and likely we have been on the receiving end of a prank or two. But how does that help us? Studies show us a few things about humor:
1. Humor can portray a message is understandable ways that nothing else can.
2. Humor can decrease the feelings of rage and anger in those around us.
3. Humor is memorable. How many movie lines can you quote that made you laugh sometime?
4. Humor can be an “ice-breaker” in tense or unfamiliar situations.
There are numerous others that we could list. What better time to have such a tool than the holidays, a season that can be stressful or painful? But you could help improve it for you and others around you. So give it a try.
As I’ve noted before, the holidays can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, other supervisors, clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to.
I’ve said it in every email, and every chance I get. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. I’ve said it to you on the parks and restaurants. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.