When I was young I worked a lot of different jobs. I had a wife and three kids and was determined to take care of them. We had a lot of ups and downs that took us to several states. I was trying to find where I belonged, but wasn’t really successful.
Through a lot of crazy circumstances we wound up back in Ohio with no job and really no direction. So, I took a job working for a drywall company. I had no experience but my boss hired me anyway and took the time to teach me what to do. It was a long process because I had never done work like that before.
We did mostly commercial work but we did some residential work too. I didn’t mind the hard work but I’m glad that I don’t hang drywall at my age. It is really demanding and heavy work.
The economy wasn’t very good so the boss was taking a lot of odd jobs like demolition work for different companies. He got us a demolition job in Rochester New York at the top of an office building. I don’t remember how many floors but it was something like fifteen. It was for a phone company who was putting in equipment and office space.
We had to take our tools up in an elevator. We spent several days and nights there as it turns out, ripping down walls in an effort to clear the space. We didn’t do the construction, just the destruction.
The day we were there the boss decided that we were going to work late to get it done. We stated tearing things out at a rapid pace raising a lot of dust. And I mean a lot of dust. When all of a sudden a bunch of firemen burst through the door dress to the hilt with all their fireman garb, axes in hand, with the fire chief on their heels.
The dust had set off the fire alarms and it activated a call to the fire department. Before we knew it they were running around looking for something that didn’t exist. Someone had forgotten to turn off the smoke detectors before we started raising all that dust.
When he realized what had happened the fire chief got really upset and started in on my boss. I wouldn’t say that he was yelling but he was very angry. His men had ran up several flights of stairs with full fireman regalia seeking what turned out to be a false alarm. It wasn’t our fault but I’m sure someone got in big trouble. We finished the job as fast as we could and left town.
It makes me think of the way we handle things in our lives. We overreact to something we’ve heard or to something someone says and come in ready to fight a fire that simply isn’t there. My mom used to say “Come in with guns a blazing”. I’m not exactly sure what that means but it sounds dangerous.
I’ve overreacted many times to situations that I’ve heard about or discerned differently than what is the reality. I’ve also tried to fix problems that didn’t need fixing. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. You won’t be successful in life if you go around trying to put out fires when they don’t exist. You’ll just make people mad.
When we play games with our granddaughters, who can be very drama oriented, we set the boundaries right away. We say, "This is a not drama zone". It makes the game a lot more fun.
The Bible says to “follow after peace“. And, “As much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” I know that everyone has to put fires out sometimes but don’t overreact. We call that drama. Don’t give into drama.