A message from Fire Chief Kris Kazian
August 9, 2020
Windsor Severance Fire Rescue Community,
Last week’s message was a quick note to the community, but I was selfishly focused on myself and my family after a little family time and a birthday. This week, I would like to take a deeper dive into a few of my thoughts on what I am seeing and hearing as we continue to be challenged with this thing called life, how we can be role models to those around us and how we approach the start of the school year for all the students getting back to their education.
Before I get to my thoughts this week, I failed to follow up on my pledge in early June to workout 50 times in 60 days before my 50th birthday. Not sure you would be able to tell but when I put my mind to something, I am all in. I managed to get 59 workouts in 60 days. Some were lighter workout days, but for the most part many high intensity workouts and many miles ran day in and day out. I am continuing my commitment as I feel better than I have in a long time. My wife has now challenged me to weigh in at the same weight as I did when we married on our 20th anniversary. I have dropped about 20 pounds so far and I have two pounds to go before August 19! I got this….
I have had my ear bent, and I may have bent a few ears, over the last few weeks regarding frustrations with the continued rhetoric and politicization of just about every hot topic with friends, co-workers and family. It appears each of us continue to build a bigger wall (no pun intended) around our islands and our views of life. We continue to mentally and physically isolate ourselves and we are beginning to see the challenges of what things look like when you divide and conquer our great nation, a neighborhood, a workplace, friends and a family. This is simply not acceptable, and we need to take positive and healthy actions as individuals and as a community.
As my daughter Cami works to manifest the good things that she wants to happen, I am going to share a few thoughts on how we can proactively take some actions that you and your family may take to help tear down those walls. I am not certified, or maybe even qualified, to professionally speak to this topic but I do observe people. I look for solutions when I see an opportunity and I also have faith in humanity that we are better than how we are all living right now. I always look to find the positive things in life and always see the good in my life even the toughest of situations.
While I was driving, The Foo Fighters song “Times Like These” came on the radio. I may have talked about this song on this platform in the past, or maybe it was on my personal social media page. In any case, as it was blaring on my radio and I was attempting to sing, I was overcome again to the words in this song. Dave Grohl’s lyrics for the song are as follows:
I, I’m a one-way motorway
I’m the one that drives away
Then follows you back home
I, I’m a streetlight shining
I’m a wild light blinding bright
Burning off alone
It’s times like this that you learn to live again
It’s times like this that you give and give again
It’s times like this that you learn to love again
It’s times like these time and time again
I, I’m new day rising
I’m a brand-new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight
I am a little divided
Do I stay or run away
And leave it all behind?
Chorus repeats 4 times
The power of music and the symbolism it provides in my life has been profound. I listen to the words of a song and I wonder what the writer is trying to say. How did he/she know how I feel? How does that music or those words impact me? Why is this song speaking so loudly to me? I think music can be a universal language for many! Here is a link to a Living Room Studio video of the song recorded during Covid for you to enjoy: https://youtu.be/7GElP4YdrBE.
As we engage in negativity and divisiveness, we have to ask ourselves what are we doing to help or what are we doing to hurt this situation? How are the people around us being impacted by our actions? How are my actions impacting me? I am reading a book a coworker gave me by Dan Crenshaw called “Fortitude.” The author, an ex-Navy Seal and current US Representative, speaks to people thriving in negativity. Negativity is simply easy to get behind and it is easy to be on that side. While I have not finished the book, it has gotten my attention that this is why things are the way they are. It is easier to be negative and be on the side that is getting all the attention. It has highlighted why I work so hard to bring the positive to things and like a classic Monty Python movie told us, “Always look at the bright side of life!”
If you have kids and have been challenged by the decision to send them to online school, the new traditional format, or you have chosen to home school, there has likely been lots of discussion in front of the kids about your feelings on who, how or why things should be the way they are (or different than the way they are). If you are like many of my friends with seniors who graduated, or are seniors this year, you may have heard or said how sad you are that the graduate or the senior is going to have a terrible year and memories like homecoming or prom are just gone. While I am NOT saying that the experience will be what you/they were expecting, I wonder how much we as parents and adults add to what will surely be a negative experience if we frame everything in that context. What else in your life is getting the same sort of negative voice and have similar impacts? The Covid train has left the station and the impacts we have seen so far, seem to be the precursor to what we are likely going to see in the future. I am a realist and appreciate it is not Pollyanna like, but we have to remember that our kids hear so much and look up to us as adults and we have a huge influence on them, their attitudes and their opinions. All I am saying is we have to watch how we talk in front of them because while the year may not be what we thought or wanted, it is what it is- lets be there to make the most of it if nothing else.
If we are the person who creates a scene about wearing a mask having to go in the grocery store or when you leave the table at the restaurant, what do your children hear? What do your friends and extended family hear? Again, people are driven towards negativity. They will likely gravitate towards you and allow this to become the norm. What is challenging is to say to a friend or family member, “Wow negative Nelly maybe you should turn that frown upside down!” Instead you either cringe and do not say anything or you eventually begin to agree with them and become conditioned to the negativity. In any case, we are creating impressionable memories on those who look up to us. Again- I do not think we should accept everything as gospel but our reactions are being witnessed by many and we may not realize the impacts it is having on others around us.
I have had conversations where I just bite my tongue because it is not the right time or place, but I have also intentionally worked to point out a negative behavior or attitude. I try to share the need to work to consider trying to control what we can and do not try to control or get upset on the things I can not control. This does not mean I do not have strong feelings about things that I can not control, I just work to try and compartmentalize as much as I can. I work to develop an appreciation that my happiness is a priority and is important and I am going to surround myself with good and happy people- it makes me a better person. If you prefer to surround yourself with negative people and negativity, that is an option you are choosing. I find myself there sometimes, because it is easy (and sometimes popular or mainstream) but I try to turn that ship around as quickly as I can when possible.
I share all of this with you to simply point out that as we change seasons and school begins, it is a new diversion and opportunity to shift gears as well as our attitudes. As we head into the cold and flu season, we will likely see the concerns of Covid and the health and welfare of our great community, state and nation come into question by many. Do your part, like I asked in my first letter to the community way back in March. We need to do our own part to help make things better. I do not ask anyone to sheepishly walk blindly into the abyss. I do not ask anyone to sing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah all day long. Life is tough, and we are facing some of the hardest things we have ever faced in our lives. I am asking us to take an inventory on what we are doing in our lives to enhance our lives, the lives of those we are responsible for as parents and as friends, and the lives of those we are around frequently. Let’s try and promote positivity and lead with an open hand not a closed fist. Appreciate and respect our differences, but know we all must work together to be happy, healthy and successful. It all starts with you….
If we listen to Dave Grohl and we are the streetlight shining, if we learn to live again, we can learn to love again. We are certainly heading for new day rising and that brand new beautiful Colorado sky is majestic nearly every day. I challenge you to try and be intentional in being positive rather than feeding into the negative that is constantly trying to suffocate us in these crazy times. Let’s be good role models and find the positive words and actions and we can all be a foo fighter, defined as a bright light or a ball of fire. We have so much great things in our lives and we will learn and grow from these challenging times if we take time to listen to the music and do our part! I am committed to living #MyBestLife going forward because that is all I really have. Please stay safe and continue to rock on and listen to the music. It will speak to you and you can make #YourBestLife. Stay safe and keep doing your part. We are all in this together!
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