From the Desk of your VEMA President... 

Welcome to the holiday months!  As I write this, its 75 and sunny, and the weekend is supposed to almost be 80 degrees in Hampton Roads!  So much for “fall like” weather, cable knit sweaters, pumpkin adult beverages, and fires to keep you warm.  I love the summertime so turning back the clocks and the change in temperature are not things I look forward to.  I saw a post on Facebook the other night that read “Now that Halloween is over, we go straight into Christmas”.  The very next morning I was on the treadmill and a Target commercial came on tv, and it was all about Christmas time.  Decorations, a tree, winter clothing, and holiday cheer were all in the commercial.  It got me thinking about the post I saw the night before and I chuckled to myself thinking – you know, that post was right.  

So why are we “forced” or “pushed” when it comes to time?  Think about when you go shopping throughout the year.  We’ll start the new year and there will be stuff out for Valentine’s Day.  Valentine’s Day will pass then St. Patrick’s Day and Easter will be out.  Easter ends and you go into Summer, and as soon as we hit August all the pumpkin spice stuff comes out.  Then the candy and Halloween decorations start, and here we are, staring at Christmas decorations.  It’s like we can never just enjoy the moment.  Why do we “force” or “push” things in life? 

Sometimes we all need that “push”.  We may need an extra little nudge to do the simple mundane tasks at work, or to do those chores at home.  However, there are times when that nudge isn’t enough.  We need that big push or to be forced into getting something done.  It’s rhetorically funny, because sometimes we need a little nudge on a big project, but need a big push on the littlest of tasks.  This is because we mentally beat ourselves and completing the goal isn’t viewed as a priority.  

This fall I was able to coach the Moyock Middle School Golf Team.  My son was a member of the team and lets just say between him and the 5 other players on the team, there was quite a bit of “pushing” going on.  Some days the game came easily and naturally than others.  One day a player would be amazing, then the next it was like they had never swung a club before.  And if you have ever played golf, its one of the most mentally draining sports, because you can literally “beat” yourself with every swing.  The team didn’t win a single Match all season.  We came close a few times, but in the end, when they needed to push themselves, they were determined to win.  Through motivation, pushing them to be their best, the team came out as the Conference Champions!  It was a truly amazing performance.  

As Emergency Managers, we all end up on both sides of the “force” or “push”.  On occasion we are the ones that need to push colleagues, to help motivate them and provide positive persuasion.  This a standard quality of leadership.  However, we never want to be considered the type to “force” our colleagues or subordinates to complete their work.  On the flip side, think about the times you have been forced or pushed to complete your work.  How did that individual motivate or coerce you to meet the deadline, finish the task, or complete the objective.  How did you feel if/when you were forced to do something?  It’s kinda like that Target Christmas commercial – it just doesn’t feel right.  It feels unnatural, out of place, and most importantly, it inherently makes you subconsciously not want to think about it.  

As we go into the Holiday Season, don’t feel like you have to “force” it.  Don’t feel like you have to “force” others to enjoy the present.  Give those that need a gentle “push” some compassion and confidence to handle the holiday season.  Our job is to help facilitate and foster growth, create depth and diversity, and to lead those that are facing emergencies and disasters.  Give them the “push” that they need, and never “force” them to fail.  And as the holidays approach, if you yourself feel like you need a gentle nudge or push, do not hesitate to call me or a fellow VEMA member.  We all need support at one time or another, and the holidays are no exception.  It’s also part of our job to look out for one another, so be a good steward to your fellow colleagues and keep an eye out for each other.  

I want to wish everyone a very blessed, safe, and relaxing Holiday Season.  Have a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  If you ever need anything from me, I’m just a phone call away.  Thank you and continue the “push” to be an amazing profession and organization. 


“Some will PUSH you forward, others will pull you back.  Regardless of who’s PUSHING or pulling, the strongest choose their own direction”

- Rolsey