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Asking for Help

I talk a lot about asking for help. Or accepting help when it’s offered. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me and our family that we have accepted a lot of help over the years. From meals to money and time to yard work. The help our family has received over the years has made the difference for us between surviving and surviving stronger.

My mom used to bring us cut up fruit, a friend grocery shopped for a year, friends did countless babysitting hours when one kid was in the E.R. and another at home and my husband was traveling. A teacher came out of retirement after our son was hospitalized for suicidal actions (Thanks Carol!) and a teacher did not retire one year to complete elementary school with our son to help him cope (Thanks Mary!).

It begs the question, “How does someone ask for help?” It’s not easy. Early on I discovered my life was immeasurably enriched by the surrounding of friends and strangers who wanted to make our path easier (Hello Internet friends who sent our daugther earrings and our son art supplies!). A lot of times it isn’t about “asking” as much as it is “taking” help when offered. When people ask how they can help, tell them. People want to know, they just need a little direction. Keep a mental or written list of ways someone can help. Some examples might be shopping, laundry (personally this was saved for my mom), yardwork, errands, buying birthday gifts and mailing them, getting stamps, taking care of dry cleaning, cleaning your house and/or paying for cleaning your house,  and company/visits during the hard times (medication, night time, bath time, doctor appointments) which serve as great distractions.

When people ask how they can help, tell them. As much as you think it is a gift to you, the act of giving is a gift for the giver.

If you have 13 minutes, this is a great example of Amanda Palmer accepting help…and how it built a community for her and her band.

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