I had no idea this was going to go this far, but God had other plans I guess.
What stated with a Tweet:
“If someone with a disability needs help they’ll tell you & how. DON’T tell them what they need to do & how. That’s the worst thing to do.”
Evolved into a post*:
When someone tells you they need help ask how you can help them. It probably took a lot to even ask for help because honestly who really wants help. It’s like admitting weakness. To admit you need help you need to come to a point when you realize admitting your weakness might actually work out for the best. To turn that around on someone is at times just cruel, not to mention a break in trust someone had in you. Speaking for myself, I don’t ask for help from someone I don’t trust on some level, no matter how badly I need it (I have plenty of scars from bumps and bruises to prove it).
Help comes in different forms. I don’t like knowing I’ll need a lot of help from others, or at least I like to think that way, so I try and avoid it as much as possible. And if I do end up needing help I try to tell people I trust and I know they don’t usually mind it, and if they do they’ll be honest about it.
Ask how. Don’t tell how. In all likelihood someone’s put more thought into it than you realize. Attempting to think you know better, and then actually saying it, you may as well spit on them or slap them in the face. Not only are you not helping, you’re making someone wish they never asked in the first place.
Who wants to live in a world where no one wants to ask for help for the simple fear of being disappointed? Certainly not me, and I’m someone that needs some help from time to time (but find someone who doesn’t). *portion of original post
Has now moved into conversation:
While spending time with a friend’s parents her dad told me about his recent experience with trying to help someone; which left him not wanting to help someone ever again (which I know he won’t stick to because he’s not that kind of guy). I should tell you that he is an amazing man & anyone to receive any help from him will not be disappointed. He’s also the type of person you can talk to about anything for any length of time; he may be a physician by trade but he’s been known to have conversations about church history, bridge structure, and wars in the 1800s without difficulty. So I thought explaining “the help thing” to him would be a good place to start if this were to ever become a thing.
I had my post, and previous experience, in mind when choosing to wade into the waters with this one. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well as I hoped it would, which is totally my fault.
In the end I told him about Jennifer Rothschild’s book Lessons I Learned In The Dark. I had 2 reasons for this. The first being I know he likes a good read which this book certainly is. The second being I could never put the right words to disability before this book, but now I can, or at least I try. Really it just seemed like the best way to save my point the best I could, begin at the beginning and all that.
In the end I can’t remember what I said. All I can do is hope I did the right thing.
And have faith that one bad experience in trying to help someone won’t stop a person from trying again (and again, and again).
Because if it does that doesn’t help anyone at all.
Now that I’ve gone this far what’s next?
(God help us all)
*A similar version of this post first appeared on an old blog on December 9, 2011