Not Either Or, But Both And

I don’t believe it has to be either cops or social workers. Not either cops or mental health professionals. Not either cops or educators. I believe it is both and.

I have known police officers as friends and acquaintances all my life. I know them as husbands. As brothers. As fathers. As sons and daughters.  I know them as men and women who seemed called to protect and serve.

I’ve never heard my law enforcement friends talk about their jobs unless asked. They’re more likely to mention the little league game results or their daughter’s soccer goal. I see them more often out of uniform than in. And they have never- not once- reminded me they are a police officer.  They’ve not mentioned anything about being in authority over me or that they hold any special power that I do not. If I did not know their occupation out of uniform, I would not know it. 

They just live their lives like I do. They chop their own veggies for supper.  They run out the door with a piece of pizza shouting, “Don’t forget your glove!”, to make it to the game because they are the coach.  They watch their child on the dock casting a fishing line unsuccessfully and they hold back from “helping” as to not rob them of the satisfaction found in a hard-earned triumph made of perseverance.  They sit in the same chairs at the band concerts. They stand in the same lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles with their nervous sixteen-year-olds.  They love their moms and mow their lawns. Their kitchens get messy and their relationships sometimes match their kitchens.

And then they put on their uniform and go to work. I suppose I’ve met a “bad” cop in my day. I’ve also met a “bad” teacher, and a “bad” salesman. When my son was deathly ill in the hospital for over seven weeks, I even recognized a “bad” nurse. BUT, when I recall my own experiences with the overwhelming majority of teachers, nurses and police officers, I find good. So much good.

The best teachers shaped my life by instilling in me a rare ingredient called confidence.  The best doctors and nurses saved my son’s life and the best counselors saved my sanity. The best first responders and social workers save lives every day through prevention.  What they prevent, we may never know.  Early intervention works in nearly every situation.  Sooner is better than later for fires, cancer, child abuse, and education.  But it’s hard to measure how much better because we won’t hear about what didn’t happen.  The family who breaks the cycle of abuse with early intervention won’t make the news.

Unity not Division

I don’t believe it has to be either-or.  I believe it must be both and.  I heard a small-town fire chief speaking to teenagers on the topic of suicide and mental health intervention.  He spoke of being called to crises such as domestic violence and attempted suicides. He said that as a first responder their policy was always to work in tandem with the local police.  It was the police officer who would enter the volatile situation first, in essence protecting the first responder in case things were not as they seemed in the 911 call.

It is first responders and social workers and counselors and educators and doctors and nurses and pastors and mamas and papas and sisters and brothers and children and police officers.   But most of all it is both God and us. 

This I know, that God is for me. – Psalm 56:9

 I will never leave you nor forsake you. -Hebrews 13:5

Thank you and God Bless us all

I made this stepping stone for a family devoted to protecting and serving. The husband is a law enforcement officer. The wife is a registered nurse. And their daughter is a newly badged LEO. I wanted to thank them in a tangible way.  My mosaic is not enough. Not nearly enough. It’s just both inadequate and all I’ve got. I pray for all. Both. And.

If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31