I ran a day-camp-like event for a few years running. This past year, on the last day, when it was all over, I found out that the small group leaders were struggling with their kids. Now these are quite young small group leaders, and they aren’t expected to know parenting or classroom management skills. That’s what I’m here for, but I didn’t find out until it was too late. I’ve got a note to remind them next year to ask for help and a note to remind myself to spy, but it got me thinking, why do so many of us try to face problems alone? Younger children do this too; I’ve seen it many times, and I did it myself as a child. I tried to face so much alone. There is something to be said for autonomy but it’s got to be age appropriate; kids should know someone is in their corner. They don’t seem to always know that naturally; they have to be told, and we see evidence of this in the classroom. We have to keep reminding children that when someone is bullying them, tell a trusted adult. In so many people that I know, of all ages, an overdeveloped sense of responsibility runs rampant.
Looking at my experience leading this event, I was more stressed than I needed to be in the preparation because I felt that I needed to run it alone. There are several people that came through; we really were a team. But for much of my preparation I didn’t see it. I had the attitude, “I need to do this,” and it was a thing that was too big for one person. But I took it all on anyway. There is a tendency to think, “it’s me against the world,” and forget that there are people in my corner. Even as adults, we can try to do too much alone.
How many movies and TV shows have a dilemma because a husband and wife or other unit aren’t communicating with each other, each is trying to face the problem solo? How many people are lonely because they don’t want to put their burden on others when there’s someone else feeling lonely and wishing they could do some service out of love and friendship, knowing that this gives life meaning? Or perhaps the other person would benefit from knowing that someone shares the very same thoughts and feelings they themselves have. There is a sense of isolation in Western culture that we can feel is imposed upon us and it may be, but many of us are also doing this to ourselves. How do we break out and get true intimacy in which we support one another and know we are supported? It took a lot for me to break down and ask a friend for a ride to the airport. I bet it took a lot for another friend of mine to ask her friends to help watch her kids. We need to do those things. We are less lonely and much healthier if we are here for one another.
I challenge everyone reading this to ask someone for help today. If you are someone with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility like most of my blog readers, ask someone for help. It makes them a better person too. People are lonely. People have a lot to give and they need to be needed. If we want community, giving and receiving is a big way we do this. So let’s do this. Today, just ask one person for help and face the thing together.
May God bless your day.