By Julie Fitz-Gerald
Despite the hardships of the job while on duty, not many parents get such precious family time outside of work. Changing perspective is a healthy attitude exercise that will help you enjoy your days off with your family.
Working in the fire service can be stressful. It’s the nature of being a first responder: arriving to a horrific car crash, running into a burning building, performing CPR on an unresponsive accident victim. You deal with traumatic events as part of your everyday job. But this adrenaline-packed, often hazardous way of earning an income has a silver lining that likely wasn’t front-of-mind when you signed up to fight fires and save lives: family time.
When you’re off-duty from the hall, you get to be on-duty with your offspring, wiping runny noses, dropping off forgotten lunches at school and waiting in the kiss-and-ride when the afternoon dismissal bell rings. You can help to coach your kids’ hockey teams, drive a car-full of teammates to soccer practice and dole out popsicles, Motrin and hugs when your children are home sick.
And, it turns out there are some big benefits to this all-important family time that extend beyond the house. Studies across the United States and Norway show that a stay-at-home parent (which obviously you’re not, but sometimes may feel like one) can have a positive impact on school grades and anxiety levels.
According to an article by Apryl Duncan on www.verywellfamily.com, research has shown that children with a stay-at-home parent benefit with increased school performance and less stress and aggression. “A 2014 study found that the benefits of having a parent at home extend beyond the early years of a child’s life. In the study, the educational performance of 68,000 children was measured. They found an increase in school performance all the way to high school-aged children,” writes Duncan.
This hidden perk of firefighting — getting to spend coveted time with your children — can have a huge impact as evidenced by Duncan’s article. Some in the fire service say family time is the best-kept secret of the job. Because every school drop-off, every McDonald’s lunch date and every trip to the skatepark leads to a stronger, deeper, more connected parent-child relationship. You get to be there for many of their “firsts.” Given the fragility of life that firefighters know all too well, these are the treasured moments that make life worth living.
Julie Fitz-Gerald is a freelance journalist, author and motivational speaker who is passionate about sharing stories of hope and inspiration – two things our world desperately needs.
Photo By Juliane Liebermann