Hip To Be Square

"It's just a picture." I think to myself. But to my 5 year old daughter, baby girl, it is further proof that she is a failure. Her big brown eyes had surveyed the picture in its entirety. "I can't do it! I can never get it right! I'm just no good at making squares!"In her mind, there is an ideal of what perfection looks like. It does not match what she's doing. I assure her that the leaning house that resembles a rhombus instead of a square is fine. Still, it is not close to acceptable in her mind. It is proof that she did not accomplish an art masterpiece.

At times in your life, do you sometimes feel like you have failed miserably? That despite your efforts, you are performing an exercise of futility? All the energy and hard work you put into a task, and the impact is minimal.Whether a small change, or a revolutionary ideal for the world, getting results can be difficult.

Have you heard the phrase "In his/her own little world"? Perhaps the way to successful change in the world, is to change the world of one person. Those people you directly influence, including yourself. Perhaps in changing the world of one person, there is an actually change in the world over all. He or she could be the person who is meant to change the world, He or she needed you to see that it was possible. If my daughter one day becomes a renowned artist, perhaps it was the help I give her in finding the perfect square that helps get her there.

If that is the case, how would we do that?How do we change someone's world, instead of the world as a whole?I could simply say it in one word: inspire. In the fire service, however, we like nifty acronyms.Instead, let HER spell out the steps:


In the movie "Dumb and Dumber", the character Lloyd asks Mary what are the chances of him dating her. After hearing that it's about 1 out of a million, Lloyd pauses, and then says, "So, you’re saying there is a chance!" I don't know that I have that level of optimism. But for change in happen in anything, you have to actually believe that it can happen. For Baby Girl’s journey to art greatness, she needs me to assure her that she can make a square.


Innovative ideals are generally improvements on what already exist. Could it be that you need to go as far as you can, so someone else can go further?It is akin to a relay race in track and field. One person does the best he or she can to give the next person the chance to improve on that. With that in mind, I show baby girl how I draw square. My artistic abilities were not recognized by my grade school teacher. Perhaps Baby Girl can improve on what I did.


In my last position in the fire service, I quickly learned that being successful was not about what I know, but where to find what I need to know. Helping individuals to find ways to improve can help them to make meaningful changes. Some people need general theories, others need step-by-step directions. For Baby Girl, we did what makes sense; we watched Sesame Street videos on YouTube about drawing shapes. Know your resources!

I have no idea if Baby Girl will become a high paid artist that changes the art world. I do know that as some point, she will again experience failure. When she does, she can use HER as a way to find Hope, an Example, and Recourses to be successful. The ordinary experience of drawing a circle, may one day lead to extraordinary changes.

 About the Author 

 NICK BASKERVILLE has had the honor of serving in the United States Air Force for 10 years, followed by 4 years in the United States Air Force Reserves. He attained the rank of Technical Sergeant (E-6). Nick also has 16 years of fire service time, with 13 years of that being in a career department in Northern Virginia. Nick has had the opportunity to hold positions in the Company Officer's section of the Virginia Fire Chief's Association (VFCA), The Virginia Fire Officer's Academy (VFOA) staff, and in the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) as a chapter president, a Health and Wellness committee member, and one of the IABPFF representatives to the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance.