|Consider the Hero Within|
|By Joe Bouchard|
Corrections is a profession that has many elements of danger. Every day, staff are subjected to potential peril. Because of that, not everyone will even consider working in such conditions. Yet, corrections’ ranks are filled with dedicated professionals who perform well under adverse conditions. When you think about it, there is heroism inherent in what we do.
Those who know me are aware that it takes quite a lot to leave me speechless. In October, I was awed into silence by my first in-person view of the Grand Canyon. Certainly I had plenty to express. Yet, I was too overwhelmed by the vast, ineffable grandeur to utter a coherent syllable. As a mere mortal, I felt that it was truly a view reserved for the heroic.
Without warning, as I drove back towards Flagstaff, the wow factor returned to me – and it was intensified. It was an unbelievably potent sensation. A simple comparison of ‘normal’ landscape revived the feeling of wonderment.
It is a strange realization. Sometimes when we meet our hero, we become as awestruck, similar to someone who views the Grand Canyon for the first time. We may even become accustomed to their greatness and take it for granted. Then, we remember their significance when they are gone. The hero power of our idols is very potent indeed.
No two inspirations are the same. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. More obvious sorts come to us from great moments in history. Those who we admire are also derived from our families and daily lives.
We can also be inspired by groups of people, such as fire fighters, law enforcement and the military. Our champions do not have to be a single, specific individual.
It is even possible to employ a fictional character as a personal motivator. There is nothing wrong with finding inspiration from a well written story.
I believe that corrections staff are the unsung heroes of the criminal justice system. Every single job within corrections has an element of danger. Each day, we risk peril with the chief goal of maintaining safety for offenders, staff, and the public. There are many heroes in our ranks.
Whatever the derivation of our idol, we need to ask ourselves some questions. Who do we admire and why? Do we think of our heroes often enough? Why is this important to our vocational development?
We look up to historical, living, and fictitious figures for their deeds and qualities. Our champions serve as inspirations. Heroic examples illustrate possible goals for our conduct.
We all need heroes to serve as the impetus for aspiration. The image of a hero is really a mirror of possibilities. What we admire reveals a bit about our inner workings.
By identifying what we respect and why we do so, we earn a place on a higher plane of understanding. This allows us to know what makes us tick and comprehend some nuances of staff dynamics.
Working on oneself will ultimately promote the team. In corrections, this produces many benefits. A more pleasant place to work is the most conspicuous advantage. This helps erode staff disunity and ultimately makes for a safer, more efficient workplace.
Constructive role models allow us to stretch our conduct in a positive direction. Such challenges allow us to perform better while serving the public. This leads to a longer-lasting, more fulfilling career.
All of this is possible from inspiration which serves as a catalyst for self-scrutiny. It is like a persistent river that carves a grand canyon.
So, whether you admire someone for honesty, hard work, intellect, or sports ability, it is very natural to be moved by higher levels of achievement.
Much of what we admire about our heroes is a reflection of what we wish to be. All corrections professionals should, from time to time, think about their heroes and why they admire them. That is the first step to discover the hero within. When is the last time that you considered your heroes?
Author’s note: In the last year, the world lost three people who I admired. Therefore, the concept of the hero is very much on my mind lately. My personal heroes who passed are Arthur C. Clark – brilliant science fiction writer, George Carlin – intellectual comedian and scathing social critic, and my father - determined and rarely intimidated. Despite their respective departures, I still draw on their attributes whenever I can.
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