So we’ve been out of the social game for a pretty good clip but as we return to the terabyte trenches there is something we need to ask of our firefighting friends around the country. Can we all just “Throw Ladders, Not Shade”?
What does this mean exactly? In layman’s terms, stop being a dick. Stop being a keyboard commando. Stop bashing others. Stop adding criticism to the comment thread of others actions. Stop and ask yourself, did my comment add any value or was I just whipping out my ignorance and swinging it around to be Tommy Toughguy. It means talk is cheap so let your actions speak.
Why you ask? One word. Humility. Have some. Understand that you’re not perfect, understand that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, understand to look internally before externally lashing out, understand that even the best fireman have had stupid shit happen within camera range.
For those who read the good book you may note that on many occasions you are asked to stop being Dick’s to each other. John Chapter 8 for instance, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Translation – Don’t post something that makes you look like a condescending asshole because chances are, at some point in your life, you will trip in the front yard or wear your hood like an untrained rookie (That’s assuming you go inside a fire at all. Ever.) But even if the only dark, hot and scary place you’ve ever been is your grandmothers basement, have enough humility to realize this fact, and stop typing mean things on the computer located there.
In short – be nice. Be about the work, not about the lip. Lead with courage and kindness while you kick the red devil right in the teeth. Be positive. Don’t give into the peer pressure poison of negativity. If you see a situation turning sideways, don’t pile on, simply remind your peers to – “Throw Ladders, Not Shade”.
We’ve all been guilty of being a dick from time to time, but if we all have a little humility, together we can make the fire service internetsphere not such a scary place to be. Onward.