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January 4, 2012
By Jennifer Grigg


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Jan. 4, 2011 – There are things that just somehow bring out the worst in people, and there are things that bring out the best. We all have the potential to show either side depending on what circumstances we’re dealing with.

Jan. 4, 2011 – There are things that just somehow bring out the worst in people, and there are things that bring out the best. We all have the potential to show either side depending on what circumstances we’re dealing with.

For me personally, playing games with my kids on the Wii tends to bring out my worst . . . a weakness that I normally do a very good job of keeping under wraps. Since I have two children, I’m very careful to think before I let anything slip (in the way of profanity), not to mention the swear jar that happily takes anyone’s money when my kids hear a bad word slip out. I’ll often resort to “son of a nutcracker” or “sugar plum fairy” rather than let one of those other words slip out. However, I’m ashamed to admit, that I totally blew it recently and my kids won’t let me forget it now.

While learning to play Super Mario with the kids the other day, the worst in me came flying out of nowhere and totally shocked my kids, not to mention me. I had no idea I had such a mean streak in me! I ended up getting completely frustrated at the game, the controls (because they wouldn’t do what I wanted), and then I was yelling at the poor character in the game who wouldn’t do what I wanted (because the controls wouldn’t do what I wanted), and then out came the barrage of bad words that my kids busted me for.

I tried to defend myself by telling them that that is why I don’t like to play video games in the first place, somehow insinuating that it’s their fault for wanting me to play. (I guess it’s just because I’m a naturally passionate person and just get so enthralled in the game and in my character that I just really want to see them excel.) As I explained to my two precious, impressionable daughters, some things just tend to bring out the worst in people, and apparently for me, its video games. Who knew?

Fortunately for all of us, there are also things that naturally bring out the best in us, even if we don’t realize it’s still there to be brought out because it’s been so long since whatever it is has surfaced.

I had a conversation yesterday with a fellow volunteer firefighter in which I found myself thoroughly engrossed. I’m not a great conversationalist, I’m not a chatty Cathy, and I don’t generally get into spirited debates with people (unless, of course, I’m playing with the Wii as previously discussed). So what was so great about this conversation?

It caused me to look at things from a different perspective (which is always refreshing). We chatted about training methods and how they’ve evolved (it was nice to see that I hadn’t forgotten all of my previous training and could still apply it to current situations) and I appreciated just having the opportunity to discuss and analyze fire-department issues. For me, it was a powerful reminder of how much the fire service has to offer and how being a part of it can bring out the best in a person in many different ways.

I realize that it may have just been a routine conversation to the fella that I was having it with (and if he reads this he’s going to either be reluctant to ever talk to me again, or he’s thinking I was talking to someone else), but nonetheless, I welcomed the dialogue. It felt like it lit a spark inside of me that I had forgotten was there. (No, not the same spark that lights up when I play video games – a different spark.)

The fire department is one of those things that just brings out the best in those that are a part of it and I’m very proud to be a member.

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