Category Archives: Uncategorized

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2018

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2018

As always, I want to give another thank you to all who forward this message to your departments and staff. You trust me enough to share my message to others, and I strive to not make you regret that decision. To all my readers, I hope to improve your lives, at least in some small way. If you are reading this, then I think you might hope for that too. Trust me when I say, it isn’t something I take lightly.

As members of the public safety profession, we took a job that can be physically, emotionally, spiritually and relationally demanding. September 11th continues to show us that seventeen years later. We are still loosing people from events that happened that day. For those that follow ODMP or the USFA we still see Line of Duty deaths tied to that date. That date still also continues to have emotional ramifications for us.

So what are we to do? You know as well as I do, we are never going to outrun tragedy. It will find us, and when it does, how will we make it to the “other side” or to the “new normal” that we tell people about? I think a key in doing that is something I heard in a training class I attended a few years back. OPOTA hosted an Active Shooter Introduction session. One line the instructor said that stuck with me was this: “You have to train your mind to go where your body may one day need to go.” While he was taking about response, I think it is a principle that applies to a lot of our lives.

We may not know when or what degree tragedy will visit us. What we know is it WILL visit us, and we owe it to ourselves, our families and the people we love to be ready for that day. What are some ways to do that? Here are a few (and yes, some we have heard before!) that can help us prepare.

1) Get sufficient rest. (Yes, go ahead and roll your eyes). This bit of advise is almost like people telling us to “eat your vegetables” or “get regular exercise” (Spoiler alert, also on the list), but it is definitely true. If you are deprived of sleep, your mind is not as sharp, our decisions are slower and not as well designed. There is even information from the National Institute of Heath that “Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.” 1

2) Work on better eating habits. This is one of the things that I need work on too. It goes beyond the getting and staying physically healthy. Also notice the word “better”. Drastic changes usually don’t stick so as long as we are improving and moving towards the target that is much more sustainable.

3) Work on better exercise habits. Again, notice the word “better”. Drastic changes usually don’t stick so as long as we are improving and moving towards the target that is much more sustainable. And this is beyond working out. There are countless benefits of activity that gives us oxygen and helps us ward off stress.

4) Train. I had an instructor say that “No one gets smarter under stress.” We all know people who have done something and we ask (or think) “Why in the world did you do THAT?” This also goes beyond our job functions. Do we have a family emergency plan in place? If we do, does it work? If my wife can not reach me, does she know who to call?  If we are out in public and tragedy decides to pay us a visit, does our family know what to do?

5) Take a vacation. This does not have to be elaborate, productive or cost a lot. Rest, relax, re-focus, and spend time with family and friends…where work can not find us. Maybe it’s at the lake, the beach, fishing in Colorado, at a cabin in the woods or a long hiking trail. Just go. Sometimes you have to take a break to “Sharpen the saw”.  2

6) Get/Keep affairs in order. This one may not be near as fun as the vacation, but still as important. Updated wills, information on life insurance policy, department funeral policies, benefit information, etc are all very important things to have available BEFORE bad happens. Who calls your job if something happens off duty, and who do they call? Don’t make your loved ones guess.

7) Give affirmation to people every chance you get.

That’s just a few thoughts. And maybe this can be somewhat interactive. Are you doing things that work well for you? Share that information! Tell your friends, (even let me know via email or you can also put comments on my blog under this topic).

In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again: You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Notes:

1 https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency
2 https://www.livingontherealworld.org/habit-7-sharpen-the-saw/

 

 

 

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael

 

Advertisements

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Fourth of July 2018

As always, I want to say a big thank you to all who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

I also want to thank each of you reading this. Your time is important and I understand that. I’m honored to just be a part of that. I hope you will find some encouragement or inspiration. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So again, thank you for reading.

We are quickly closing in on July 4th, (even quicker than I realized!) the day we celebrate our independence by handling lots of fireworks-related calls! But joking aside, what would our Founding Fathers think of America today?

I began thinking about that due to a hobby I caught up on recently. I had begun working on my family tree a few years ago so that I can tell my son “where he came from” and one day turn it over to his care. I’ve come to see that there are some interesting people in my family tree (and to those of you who know me it’s probably no surprise!). I would read some of their stories about coming to America, or how they lived in early America, or the struggles in Eastern Kentucky in the 1800’s. I thought, “Man, some of these people had a real tough life”. Then the thought came to me “What would they think of how I’ve lived my life thus far?” Maybe a little farther than that, “In a hundred years when I am no longer here, and all my family has to go on is what I had done, what kind of “legacy” would they have?

Sometimes during certain times we think about “legacy”. And if you’ve noticed, quite a few of these notes discusses that in some form or fashion. So I’m going to give a few principles about how to build a legacy.

 

  1. What is most important to me? Make a list. There can be a lot that goes on this list for us. Figure out what that is for you. It could be things like family, friends, social groups, religions groups or something like being healthy, educated or accomplished. Figure out what that is. Then….
  2. What am I doing with what’s important to me? Now that we know what is important, what do we do with it? Also, if you’re anything like me, there are some things I do and places I go that are completely unimportant. Am I balancing that, or am I just blowing through life with reckless abandon? Are the things that I say is important getting my time and money, or is something “stealing my life”?
  3. Am I sharing my story with others? Sometimes we learn things the hard way (I know I do.) Do we share those lessons with others? This goes beyond teaching the rookie how to do a traffic stop, fire ground operations, and the technical part of our jobs. I remember the advice I got from a Riverside officer when I went to night shift, and that was invaluable to me and it saved me pain and frustration. Do we help others with the “life lessons” we learned? Some of the mistakes I made, I don’t want anyone to have to learn the hard way. So it’s important to me to share my story with others. Who knows? Maybe I can make like a little less painful and a little happier for someone else.
  4. Do I exemplify integrity? If the answer is anything other than “Yes”, there is time to work on it. Today is the best day to start. If people looked at my life and judged all chaplains by my life, would I like the standard that is set?
  5. What can I do to raise the level of humanity just a little bit today? This one I asked last year and I like it so I’m going to repeat it. Am I “raising the level” of my family, my friends, my department, or am I lowering the level in some way. Am I making more deposits, or more withdrawals?

There are possibly dozens of questions we could look at, but this gives us a start. Sometimes, even the best of us lose that perspective. We all need a “shot in the arm” from time to time (or maybe a “kick in the pants” if you’re anything like me). So if you find yourself struggling, ask someone you trust, ask a Chaplain, ask that trusted co-worker, or you can ask me, my contact information is below.

So, Happy Independence Day, America! Let’s go out and leave a legacy.

In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

 

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
6691 Dial Drive
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael

Please disseminate to all law enforcement: Police Week 2018

As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. While I can’t visit with each of you individually, I can, however, remind and show you that people DO care. This message is being read by departments of all shapes, sizes and locations. To each of you, welcome. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading and I hope it will be beneficial to you.
May 13-19,2018  marks the period that we call “Police Week”.  In 1962, President Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, when we set aside a time of “Recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”.
I, like a lot of you, will attend memorials or private ceremonies during the month. Some of you may just gather together to reminisce about our fallen friends, and our blue family. Most of us will do something so we remember them and never forget what they have done for us.
Today I want to talk about a word I’ve heard lately. Stuck.
Not a real appealing word is it? Stuck. Stuck in a situation, stuck in a bad relationship, stuck in our career. Maybe we feel stuck because of our choices, or the choices of others. We aren’t happy because we feel stuck. Sometimes the day to day life we live becomes a “routine” which can make us feel on auto-pilot and unimportant.  Ghandi is quoted as saying, “Be the change you want to see.” Sometimes we forget that WE are the change agent in our lives.
1. Let Something go. Sometimes we keep ourselves chained by holding on to the past. We have all had people “do us wrong” . This is something I have to talk with a lot of people about. Holding grudges is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. No matter how bad something was, we can CHOOSE to walk past it. It may be hard, and it may take some time, but I refuse to let someone control me, especially those who are no longer in my life.
2. Exchange the mundane. A lot of us operate in our “comfort zone” . We eat at the same places, shop at the same places and vacation at the same places. This year, BREAK OUT.  Inner change naturally creates outer change, and the funny thing is , outer change can also bring about inner change. Eat somewhere different, take a different route home (or even swing by a park). Hit the trails instead of the gym. Re-arrange your living room. Consciously do something different in your life and see what happens.
3. Ask yourself “Is there something I’m missing?”. We usually have to know what the problem is before we can fix it.  Take a few minutes to reflect on your life, like a weekend camping, at the lake, or at a fancy hotel (hey, you’ve earned it!).
4. Renew your purpose. Why are you doing what you are doing? We all talk about things that the “current me” would tell the “younger me”, but what about the other way around? What would that 20-something you tell you why you became a cop? Find others who are helping people at a level that you want and see what they do?
5. Never exclude a professional.  Maybe you want to stop and unhealthy habit (smoking , drinking, eating so much fast food). Maybe it’s finding how to grow in your career. It could be figuring out how to fix that relationship in our live that is really bringing us down. There is no shame going to someone who knows something I don’t, and asking them to show me what do do to get where I want. It could be a doctor, counselor, chaplain, HR, motivational coach, or a recent retiree.
Why is this important? I think one way to bring “credit” to my past, my heritage, or “those who came before me” is to make a difference in other people’s lives. And sometimes, to do that, I have to make a difference in mine.
Thanks for spending a few minutes with me. For all my law enforcement family reading this, I’m praying for an especially peaceful and safe week for you: safe traffic stops, safe building searches, and safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year, or with a loss that continues to hurt. I pray that those of you making trips to Washington and state memorials will have a safe trip. For those who are attending a memorial to honor a fallen brother or sister, I pray for healing. But most of all, I hope now more than ever, there is an outpouring of appreciation form the communities that you serve.
In closing, thank you for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it for the remainder of my days. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.
Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424

Police Week 2018 Prayer Points

Each year I post some prayer thoughts for Police Week. Most of this is taken from a note I did in 2012, but added some modifications each year. For all my law enforcement friends, spouses, and Chaplains: If you think of anything to add, let me know!

I’m asking all my friends to pray for our Police Officers this week more than any other. Even now as the anti-police movement continues to stir hatred of our officers, it is up to us to keep them in our prayers. May 13-19 this year is Police Week. It was designated by President Kennedy in “recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”. I’ve listed some “prayer targets” for each day. This is a work in progress, so as I find things or as other officers give me suggestions, I’ll update the list. Also, you will see some action “ideas”. The book of James tells us that “faith without works is dead.” So do something. Get involved. Be kind. Make a difference.

Note: National Peace Officers Memorial Day falls on Tuesday, May 15 in 2017. Because National Police Week takes place during the calendar week on which May 15 falls, this year’s official National Police Week dates are Sunday, May 13, 2018 through Saturday, May 19, 2018. However, several annual events will take place before May 15.

Romans 13:1-4 tells us “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”

Friday 11th-Sunday 13th – Safe trips to DC, local memorials

Monday 14th – Community support for officers
-Prayer targets:
— Officers would be honored in the communities they serve.
— Officers would not be hated for doing their job-upholding the law and correcting law-breakers.
-Ideas:
— Officers love simple tokens of appreciation. Buy their lunch when one is in the drive-thru behind you.
— When you see businesses giving officer discounts, let the manager/owner know that you appreciate that.
— Get involved. Call/visit your local police department (during business hours) and ask them what you can do to help.
— Post blue lights in your windows to show your respect for officers.
— Join/start a neighborhood watch.
— Greet them when you see them in public.

Tuesday 15th – Officer Safety
-Prayer targets:
— That no department would have to choose something else over officer safety due to small budgets.
— Officers would have wisdom and safety in all situations.
— Pray Isaiah 54:17 -No weapon formed against them shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against them in judgment will be condemned.
-Ideas:
— Have your house number in a location where it can be seen in the event they need to respond to you.
— Only use 911 in cases of emergency.
— If you are stopped pull over as far to the right as possible so that, when the officer comes up to your widow, he or she won’t have to worry about being clipped by vehicles in the right lane.
— Do NOT get out of your car unless the officer asks you to do so.
— If a police car is coming behind you with its siren blaring or emergency lights flashing, pull over to the right safely and quickly.

Wednesday 16th – Officer Families
Note: Officers have a higher rate of divorce than the general public.
-Prayer targets:
— That the families might know peace when their loved ones are on duty.
— That the families have understanding when the officer they love is under stress.
— That officers would be able to separate work and home, and that their families can support them in times of stress, and know that their stress is not directed to them.
-Ideas:
— If you are fortunate enough to know a police officer, offer to babysit while they go out with their wives.
— If you know an officer and you can see he is having a rough time, just be available. They don’t have to tell you what’s going on, but they may need someone to talk to.
— If an officer tells you something in confidence, KEEP IT IN CONFIDENCE. Don’t tell the neighborhood that an officer is struggling in their marriage.
— Be good neighbors and human beings. How do you want people to treat YOUR family?

Thursday 17th – Officer Seclusion, isolation
-Prayer targets:
— That an officer will never feel isolated from his peers or superiors.
— That an officer will never feel like they are facing their struggles alone.
— Pray that God would send good and trustworthy friends into their lives.
-Ideas:
— If you are fortunate enough to know a police officer, invite their family to your house for a cookout.
— When you see an officer, discretely and kindly ask if they would like you to pray for anything. And don’t be offended if you hear “No.”

Friday 18h – Mental stress, anxiety, suicides
Note: Most officers will shy away from talking about this. Officers are taught control from day one. If they are not in control, someone could die. When officers lose the ability to control their circumstances, self-doubt may set in. Officer suicides are two times higher than the general public.
-Prayer targets:
— That an officer will not struggle with self-doubt.
— That an officer will never feel like they are facing their struggles alone.
— Pray departments would give good stress detection and suicide prevention programs.
— Pray officers would always see a way through the pain and struggles they face.
— Ability to relax off-duty – Officers are human beings and need to rest.
-Ideas:
— If you are fortunate enough to know a police officer, invite their family to your house for a cookout.
— If an officer tells you something in confidence, KEEP IT IN CONFIDENCE. Don’t tell the neighborhood that an officer is struggling in his marriage.
— When you see an officer, discretely and kindly ask if they would like you to pray for anything. And don’t be offended if you hear “No.”

Saturday 19th- Departments and families of 2015 Line of Duty deaths
Note: There were 128 deaths in the “Line of Duty” in 2015 with am additional 27 K9 officers. Over 100 departments across the United States will honor names added to “the wall” in DC.
-Prayer targets:
— That officers and families would experience healing from the pain of their loss.
— That departments would develop programs for support before they are needed.
— Pray officers would not experience “survivor’s guilt”.
-Ideas:
— Contact your local police department/Sheriff’s office to see if they have any memorial events. Attend them.
— If your local department has memorial gardens, plaques, or stones, visit them. They died protecting you and your family.

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Merry Christmas 2017

First, I again want to say thank you to all the Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers, Administrators, fire fighters, medics, and fellow Chaplains who have made it possible for me to distribute this message.
I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. For those of you in stations or cars or behind the mic working during the holidays, we appreciate the sacrifices you and your family are making while ensuring our safety and security. It does not go unappreciated or unnoticed.
The holidays are upon us again. It’s supposed to be a time of joy, giving and happiness. But what it actually turns out to be something else. You may have to work Christmas Day, or the night shift, and you don’t feel the “Christmas Spirit”. Maybe you are alone (or just feel that way). Maybe you just want to skip Christmas all together. So what are we to do?
What I’m not going to tell you is that all the problems will be fixed overnight (I only wish that were true) . But we can begin the walk to be happier. After all, isn’t that what most people want? We just want to be happier, right? So here are some ideas on what to do this season.
1. Don’t spend what you don’t have. (Sometimes I need that reminder too!)
2. It’s OK to say no sometimes. Sometimes we have to take time for the people closest to us…and OURSELVES.
3. Giving because you feel you “have to” is not necessarily generosity. Giving is great, but sometimes we can give too much and over-extend ourselves. Sometimes we have to “scale back” to be healthy.
4. Make a snowman and then demolish it. Sometimes a little fun can ease the tension…or make your neighbors think you’ve been too stressed. Plus it would be funny on YouTube.
5 Parties: It’s just a party.  Everything does not have to be perfect. Have some people over and just have a good time. No one will care if the forks are in the wrong order or you forgot to get Pepsi (but don’t forget Mountain Dew though, they may riot).
6. Avoid the hustle and bustle – shopping online can be cheaper and faster…and you can do it in your pajamas drinking a raspberry tea.
 If you’re able, end every day by turning on the Christmas tree lights, turning off all the other lights, and relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate or tea.
7. Go somewhere and look at lights
8. Find something to laugh about.
9. Make gratitude list where you document the reasons you are thankful for people in your life as a gift.
10. Help someone less fortunate than you.
How happy do you want to be? The bigger question is “Why wait?”
During the holidays, I always put in this information, because I know that someone may need it. The holidays are meant to be times of joy, happiness, time with those we love and hope. While it can produce stress for even the best of us, for some of you can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. It can be hard to balance out what you have to deal with and still know that there are great people in society as well. I also know that it’s hard for us to reach out sometimes (and I’m no exception to this rule). 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, and any other Supervisor available for help. There is also other Clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. My phone is always on and 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.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best wishes for 2017. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Dr. Mike Crain I. D.Min.
Chaplain

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Thanksgiving 2017

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Thanksgiving 2017

As always, I want to give another thank you to all who forward this message to your departments and staff. You trust me enough to share my message to others, and I strive to not make you regret that decision.

Sometimes things happen that we don’t plan for (and that’s why this email is late!) Sometimes things don’t go as we plan. Sometimes the home repair that was supposed to take a day or two turn into a week or two. Sometimes despite our best efforts things go wrong; things that cause us to evaluate our choices or where we are in life. It could be anything from an accident, an attack, preparing for retirement, sending a child to college, a medical diagnosis, marriage or divorce. Something happens in our lives that cause us to look at ourselves and ask some important questions. Questions like “Who am I?”, “Am I happy?”, “Do I like the person that I have become?” “Is there something I need to do to change?”

I think that all of us from time to time have to answer one or more of these questions. These questions can be healthy questions to ask ourselves. So what does that have to do with the holidays? People start looking at themselves more during the holidays. Maybe they’re thinking of “New Year’s resolutions” (which according to studies fail to last more than 30 days 75-90% of the time). So how do you make effective changes?

  1. Focus on one thing at a time. Even if there are numerous things you want to work on, start with one. It’s easier to change one habit than multiple ones.
  2. Make some changes in bite-size pieces. If you can, start small and work your way up. For example, if your goal is to exercise more, start with 2-3 days a week at the gym instead of “I’m going everyday.” What if you can’t break it up and you have to tackle it head on? That leads me into number three.
  3. Don’t expect perfection. Perfection is not likely to happen. If you slip up, just get up and keep going. To quote Winston Churchill, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.” Like I always say, “It’s better to mess up than to give up.”
  4. Share your goals. Let your family and friends encourage you along the way. Maybe you could join a support group or 12-step group to help you reach your goals (and encourage others). Having people to share your successes and struggles with make it much easier and less intimidating. All we have to do is ask.
  5. Reward yourself. As you reach certain milestones, give yourself that “pat on the back” .Go see a movie, or have that real nice dinner you’ve wanted, or maybe that trip to the lake.
  6. Get (and give) encouragement. I’ve talked about this before, but it bears repeating again. It doesn’t cost you anything to say something encouraging to someone, so spread encouragement everywhere you go!

There is no better time to make changes in your life that makes you happier, and isn’t that what most of us want anyway? What better gift to give yourself during the holidays than happier and healthier?

I always add this in for the holidays. We all know that the holidays can be a time of sadness, frustration extra stress 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 (my contact information is at the bottom) in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to. Life is a battle best fought with others.

In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again: You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2017

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2017

As always, I want to give another thank you to all who forward this message to your departments and staff. You trust me enough to share my message to others, and I strive to not make you regret that decision.

To all reading this message: You have a hard job. I know that, as do countless other people across our communities and great nation. Sometimes encouragement is in short supply, and some of us are our out there working to change that, and to turn the tide of negativity.

There has always been a “that day” for people to remember. The previous generation had dates like the Kennedy Assassination, the attack on Pearl Harbor or another major event. September 11 is that day for me. I can remember what I was doing in detail on that day. Even some of what I said, or other small details that are burned in my memory. I can’t tell you what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I can tell you what channel I changed it to that morning, and what I said to co-workers. (As a side note, it was the day I went on my first date with my wife, who has now became part of the Thin Gold Line.)

So why do those days impact us, and why do we remember so much about them? It’s because we ALLOW it to. We slow down, look around, and turn off our internal “auto-pilot” and see more clearly. We think things through, we contemplate our choices and our lives.

This year marks the 16th September 11th since “the 9/11″. Where do we stand as a nation? Possibly more divided that ever, at least in my generation. So what can we do? How do we bridge the divide. If you listen to the news (which I watch less and less of these days), everyone has an opinion about almost everything. And if you can’t agree with my opinion, then we have to be at odds with each other. But I have a secret to share with you, and all you got to do is tell everyone you know :”You can disagree without being disagreeable”. BOOM. SHOCKING.

But honestly, how do we stop the seemingly downward spiral that society is on? A lot of us have heard the adage “How do you eat an elephant? ONE BITE AT A TIME”. How do we stop the animosity and division in out country? One decision at a time, one choice at a time, one word at a time.

It really is that easy.

Really.

There are approximately 2.5 million people who are sworn officers, fire fighters, EMTs and dispatchers as of 2014. And if half of us decided to do one extra good deed per day, that is over 37 million times in a month that someone would benefit from a little extra generosity. That could make a real difference. But it even gets better. Nelson Mandela said “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Take that same number, 37 million. Now let’s say 25% of the recipients of our kindness do the same thing. That becomes almost 47 million times someone is a recipient of an extra good deed in one month, almost 575 million of them in one year.

When I was in technical school in the US Air Force in Biloxi, MS in 1995, one of my instructors said “If you can’t find an example, be one”. Over 20 years have passed and I have not forgotten the advice of Sergeant Teresa Fountain (which by the way if someone knows her, let her know that someone took her advise to heart, and I possibly owe her a meal as many times as she’s been quoted).

We can do this. We can change a Nation, one day at a time. (And if you need some ideas just Google “Random Acts of Kindness ideas” and you’ll be surprised just how simple it can be.

So who can I do more for? What can I do today to brighten the day of someone else? I know what my answers are. What about you?

In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again: You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.