It’s Not Acceptable to be Sad?

It’s Not Acceptable to be Sad?

I have been asked to speak to a group of high school students this Sunday evening about depression.  It’s not an easy topic to delve into by any means, but it is relevant.  Unfortunately, suicide ideation among teens is far too common.  And, depression is by no means uncommon among students.  Where do I begin? I have a strong hunch that some students are of a mind that being sad is unacceptable.  If they feel sad, then they conclude something…

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Measuring Parental Success at 2:00 a.m.

Measuring Parental Success at 2:00 a.m.

My day began with a call out from one of our 911 dispatchers about 6:15 in the morning.  6:15 is really not bad at all in terms of timing!  But, they don’t call because all is well.  It was a challenging experience, which is the norm.  I tried to do a good job serving those who were impacted by a particularly difficult crisis.  Later in the day another major incident occurred.  This one ended up being a late-night experience, so…

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What is the WORST Thing You Have Ever Seen?

What is the WORST Thing You Have Ever Seen?

It is a common theme in  my discussions with both emergency medical services professionals and 911 dispatchers.  Their friends, who are not first responders, ask the same question.  It is a question that is asked repeatedly.  Are you ready?  The question is:  “What is your worst call you have been on as an EMT or paramedic?”  Or…”What is the worst call you have taken as a dispatcher? May I answer for these professionals?  Here is a really good initial answer. …

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The Power of a Kind Word

The Power of a Kind Word

–> I try really hard to remain connected to my friends.  But, I often let weeks go by without calling or texting.  This week I was reminded of the value of a kind overture.  There is nothing like being on the receiving end of genuine encouragement. Every single day this past week one of my friends reached out to me and made it clear in their own way that I was valued.  I had to leave a memorial service rather…

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Who is my Neighbor?

Who is my Neighbor?

Who is my neighbor?  It could be someone in close proximity impacted directly by tragedy.  It could be the person who loses a loved one in a fire that completely destroys his home. Such an event will be a test of your capacity to be a neighbor. I had an opportunity to reach out to a man who found himself in that very situation yesterday.  And in the process, I was reminded once again of the true definition of a neighbor.A…

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Heroes of the Home

Heroes of the Home

I have noticed that the superhero movies tend to do well at the box office.  The same superhero can be featured in several movies and the theaters are full.  Why is that true.  Is it attributed to superb acting and engaging special effects?  Maybe… I actually think there is another dynamic at work. Our culture longs for heroes.  They are out there, if you look.   There is a particular longing for the kind of heroes that most people will never…

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Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness

I attended a safety meeting at the fire department this week. The topic for the evening was: “situational awareness.”  It was an excellent presentation regarding the importance of paying attention at a working scene.  Situations firefighters are called to can present dangers that unfold fast.  The next day I learned that situational awareness is a spiritual discipline as well. I was enjoying my weekly lunch with my friend, who is well into his 80’s.  It’s a highlight of every week….

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Wearing My Father’s Coat

Wearing My Father’s Coat

–> If I ever officiate at a graveside service not properly dressed, I think my mother may come back to haunt me.  She always made sure I had a nice trench coat for services done on a rainy day.  And, she expected me to wear an acceptable wool coat for the chilly ones.   When I packed for Charlie Goin’s funeral service in Oklahoma this week, I made a slight mistake.  I grabbed the black wool coat from the closet that…

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Racine, Wisconsin in the Rearview Mirror of My Dad’s Torino

Racine, Wisconsin in the Rearview Mirror of My Dad’s Torino

I don’t recall the 7th grade being my favorite year in school.  In fact, that may very well have been the worst year in my entire academic experience.  It was a socially awkward time. It was a time of searching for a sense of identity. I had to deliver a speech in English class that year. The teacher made it clear in her critique of said speech that my future would not be in public speaking… Thankfully, my occupational identity…

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In Memory of Dr. Kerry L. Knox

In Memory of Dr. Kerry L. Knox

–> My sister, Dr. Kerry Knox, passed away one year ago this weekend.  She still had so much in life she had hoped to accomplish.  As a professor in a medical school, she was assigned to researching suicide in veterans and related issues.  She worked in conjunction with the US Air Force, as they did research they hoped would impact lives for many years to come.  But, for Kerry, it came to a sudden end on October 21st of last…

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