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A Help Up or a Help Down?

requesting help with the high notes

requesting help with the high notes (Photo credit: lisaeeeee)

As you probably know from following this website, I am a believer in helping others; but sometimes doing nothing is more helpful than doing something.  Everyone probably has a friend or relative who appears to need help.  In fact, they may even come and ask you for help.  Yes, children need and deserve to get help from others; but as they grow, they need to do more and more things for themselves as somebody might not be around to help them do these things when they are grown.  There are also crisis situations where people suddenly need help for a situation that they did not anticipate and could not have anticipated or where their own resources are exhausted.  There are also situations where a gesture like paying forward or babysitting so a young couple can have a night out can benefit both the giver and the receiver.  Also there are mutually beneficial situations where when one person needs help the other person gives it and vice versa.  Also in situations where one person is in the other person’s debt, the debt is repaid in some form or other.

What inspired this blog is both the requests for advice about what to do in situations like this from people I have seen and actual situations in which we have been in my family.  The people concerned will not be identified.  Hopefully as people grow up they will learn to take care of themselves and when it is clear they need help, they will be grateful for the help received and if possible, plan ahead so they will not get in this situation again.  I realized this when help was given in situations where after the help, no change ever took place in what the person was doing that got them into this crisis.  Very often the same problem occurs over and over (perhaps with even more serious consequences).  In many cases like this, the people’s situation gets worse as people continue to give the help needed and run out of resources with which to help the person and may eventually need help themselves.

I also admit that sometimes a bigger problem can be adverted when help is given while the problem is still small. What is the most beneficial? Help? or no help? Also exhausting your resources may cause big problems for you and you wind up in a situation where you may no longer be able to help in the future. It might also create a dependency relationship where help is not only needed, but also it is expected. Sometimes a compromise can be reached where the person gets some help, but also takes some responsibility for what happened and makes a needed behavior change.

I know this is controversial, but what I hope is that it will make you think the next time you offer a person help, especially if you have done this many times before with poor results.

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