While pondering what to write for my next post, I heard a Tim McGraw song titled Humble and Kind (written by Lori McKenna) that offered very sage advice. The last stanza of the piece goes like this:
“Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind “
And help the next one in line– very profound, but how does this apply to us as first responders, peer supporters, or human beings in general? After much deliberation, here is my best explanation.
As we become seasoned veterans, it is easy to forget that we were once timid and anxious just like our younger counterparts. However, we survived the storm and are now comfortable in our own shoes. Teach them well and have honest conversations to ensure that our service will be left in capable hands long after we are gone. Being an exceptional mentor to the probationary firefighter, paramedic or EMT student is a great way to pay it forward as well as honor those who were integral to our success. Quite simply, always be humble and kind.
Those of us that have joined the Illinois Firefighter Peer Support team, did so mainly to offer our brothers and sisters in need of a safe and non-judgmental space to share their trials and tribulations (on an emotional level) of life as a first responder. They seek our counsel because we have already walked that green mile ahead of them and can listen, relate, and validate to what they are saying (thanks for that one Matt). It is one of the best shared healing gifts that one human being can give to another. The Rosecrance Florian experience offers the opportunity to do this in a group setting as well.
Lastly, take every opportunity you can to provide the needed educational outreach to our brothers and sisters in Illinois, the United States, and other countries should the opportunity arise. This week, I will have the greatest honor and privilege (with the blessing of Matt and the Executive Board) to speak at the Tema Conter Memorial Trust educational workshop in Vaughan, Ontario. The two main goals I want to accomplish while there are to (1) share the mission of ILFFPS, and (2) bring back ideas to share with you all on how our friends to the north turn back around and help the next one in line. I leave you with the song Humble and Kind to add clarity to this post. Until next time-
Be well and stay safe,