Webinar presenter Bobby Kipper answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Changing Agency Culture and Climate with Spiritual Wellness. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: What would be a good way to incorporate spiritual wellness into peer support teams?
Bobby Kipper: Great question. I’m a real believer in peer support teams. I’m so happy that this growth is happening within the industry. Believe me, Debbie, I think one way is to really get information or, even if you want to contact me directly at my e-mail, I can offline talk to you about maybe not all of this outline, but some other information. By the way, we have a major article coming out in Police Chief Magazine, the magazine for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It should be coming out, probably in about the next two weeks, that’s going to outline a lot of this information, but I have additional information that I can send, and I really think that this should be part of the core training of peer support staff. And let me also mention that I want to go on and on. But I would say that one of my major concerns, especially in law enforcement today, is the number of suicides, and in our nation was with officers. And so, I think that spiritual wellness goes right to the core of helping that depressed state. So, with that, please reach out if I can help you.
Audience Question: You talked about spirituality and its importance to organizational culture. How do you infuse spirituality and organizational culture when so many people feel like spirituality is just another word for religion or religiousness?
Bobby Kipper: Well, Christine, I clarified that a little bit today to let them know to really make sure the definition is clear. I mean, all the research is done in the nation on spirituality. And let me also say that when you go to the majority of therapists in America that are actually treating people for depression, they will push them toward, basically, spiritual wellness as an application of healing. And, so, that being said, it doesn’t mean that they’re pushing them to a church or pushing them to a specific religion. They’re pushing him to practice. You get in touch with the spiritual core. So, there are all kinds of research that show that. There’s a vast difference in this, and we need to start talking more about it.
Audience Question: What do we do when leadership says, we value acts like diversity or women in the workplace, or what have you? And, yet leadership doesn’t walk the talk. How do we handle this?
Bobby Kipper: It’s a, again, that’s another million-dollar question that people deal with every day in this industry. Most of your work is in situations that are fairly political, which creates a major problem. And, and I think there’s power in unity, and I’m not just talking about forming unions, but I’m talking about people’s voices coming together. If you’re an isolated person, you’re like a light in the desert, nobody is going to pay attention to you. If you are basically relating that your dissatisfaction with what’s happening in those areas. But I think if we unite together and we had a number of people who are lined up to really talk about a specific issue, then it has more power. Remember, there’s power in numbers. And if you have a certain segment of your organization, it feels like they’re being treated disrespectfully because of race, gender, or whatever the issue is. And you unite as a group is going to be hard too. We’ve seen that with activists in the US. It’s hard to listen to that. So, I don’t think be a lone ranger in your complaints but find other like people because I’m sure it’s not just happening once. It’s probably a trend and that’s an indictment of leadership as it needs to be clearly stated what the issue is.
Audience Question: We might feel free to express ourselves, but sometimes the values aren’t equally considered or utilized. Bobby, is there anything that can be done when they feel like their differences are simply tolerated and not necessarily valued?
Bobby Kipper: Wow, powerful question. Yeah, I do think there is something that can be done. One of the things I think is that by taking this information today, or any other information. I’ll be honest with you, it’s hard to argue. And Christina, we’ve talked about this, but the power building for this initiative is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I mean, IACP, Major City Chiefs, all kinds of justice related, Department of Corrections. People are starting to recognize this and value it. So, I think that in the future, you’re going to find out that more people are on this wagon than not. So, it’s really starting right now. Again, it’s almost like you’re in the wilderness but this wilderness light started to get brighter, so I think you’re going to be healthier for people will forward.
Audience Question: Do you have a professional page on Facebook that she can follow, or is it predominantly? Do you just simply have a personal page? She was looking for your professional page on Facebook.
Bobby Kipper: We have a professional page. And I’ll tell you, one of the things that you run, a national organization, are certain things that sort of fall down somewhat, some of our social media platforms, but it is the National Center for Prevention of Community Violence. We have a LinkedIn page as well. We also have a personal LinkedIn page, where I share a lot of insights about this information and other information. Yes, the National Center has its own website solveviolence.com, we have our own Facebook page, and we have a LinkedIn account.
Audience Question: How do we promote an environment of respect when employees may share similar values, principles, and morals, but have different faiths?
Bobby Kipper: Really, really great question. Sometimes our faith base when it comes to our religion can serve as a dividing line between one religious sect and another one. But I think if we expand the thought process beyond religion, and the spiritual value of each person, being able to have their belief system and express it and ask to respect that. I mean, part of the biggest problem in organizations is a societal problem. It’s a problem of respecting different opinions and different thought processes. And it goes back to the slogan, and It’s not about you. It’s about everybody. It’s a valued situation that becomes a problem if we only just keep it to ourselves and believe that we’re on the right road, and everybody is on the bad road. Just because there’s a difference in religion doesn’t need it, we can talk openly about it. That’s part of agency value.
Audience Question: You talked about having faith in something bigger than yourself. Can that something bigger than yourself be not just your religion, but it could be faith in your agency’s mission or maybe even something even bigger than faith and the belief of being of service to others? What are your thoughts?
Bobby Kipper: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I do think that that’s true. I mean, I think that we’re conditioned and like only believe that the only faith I have is that which is already an established faith, which again, yeah, I totally support. But I also know that if your life’s mission is to really help others and truly make that your mission in life. I totally think that’s honor. I don’t think that is something that you can just discard the fact that you shouldn’t be honored something because you don’t believe me, you don’t go to church with that church, whatever, I think it’s part of your spiritual wellness that you’re expressing that.
Audience Question: What does it look like for a person to not have this already, regardless of religion. She explains here, I’m an atheist. But I have the same general values as most people, so I’m a bit confused as to how this would be different or what it would look like for someone who doesn’t have these values?
Bobby Kipper: Well, you know, again, I would go back to tell Brittany that remember the values that I expressed in this your ethics, morals, principles. I mean, it doesn’t, none of what I said is, to whichever completely tied into a specific religion, it was that inner driven core, a spirituality that makes you who you are in. When you say you’re an atheist a form of type of anti-organized religion and that’s understandable. But the bottom line is it doesn’t mean that you still don’t have a spiritual core that needs to be fed. And if whatever it is, as I said, you know, go into beaches, you have your own sanctuary. It’s a lot of ways to feed your spiritual wellness without making that argument about religion or not.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Changing Agency Culture and Climate with Spiritual Wellness.