Every year I pick a motto or two to keep close to my heart when things get dicey in the classroom or in the school in general. A few of them stick around, because they fit all my situations. One of my favorites was from Firefly and inspired by Martin Luther King Jr’s “If you can’t fly then run if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Some days all we can do is focus on that next step; looking down the path we see too many reasons to give up. I definitely believe that we sometimes have more going on than we can handle, so I’d add “ask for help.” Most of the people I know want to help others–we want to take care of our friends, our family, and those who are less fortunate that aren’t necessarily connected to us. Unfortunately, we all have to prioritize and sometimes money (or time) get spent frivolously.
We want to help others, but we can’t always. However, most people find it very difficult to ask for help. In a time period where we have online fundraisers for basic expenses and various websites that will happily move money from those who want to help to those who are brave (or desperate) enough to ask for help, it can still be difficult.
The help we need isn’t always monetary though. And those kinds of things are almost harder to ask for. My washing machine has been broken for months (it won’t spin when it’s turned on even though I can spin it manually) and I can’t afford to buy a brand new washer. I have handy friends, friends who are able and willing to help me out with minimal to no judgement, but I am still going to the laundromat. Why is it so difficult for me to accept help on such a small issue?
As I’ve gotten older, as I’ve lived alone for longer and longer (I gave up roommates when I started teaching), it has become harder for me to actually ask for the help I need. It’s weird to acknowledge that when I have become more willing to accept all the things I don’t know which forces me to occasionally ask a stupid question (yes, there are stupid question and stupid questioners). I don’t mind looking stupid or failing at something if I get knowledge out of it. But I still have a hard time asking for help. When I do, my friends and my family are more than willing to help in whatever way they are able–just like I would help them as much as I able to.
I accept that sometimes life is too big, things are too full, and I need help. I just have a hard time asking for it.
I think I admire the people I know who are able to put themselves out into the world and say, “Help me please. I can’t do this on my own.” It’s humbling to admit that as adults we can’t always take care of all of our needs. I see people who expect things to be handed to them because they exist every day; I also see people who are struggling, because they can’t bring themselves to ask for help. Why is this something some people are easily able to do? Why is this something that is so difficult for others?
If you can’t walk, ask a friend to help you keep moving forward.