The Conference Room

Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to ask for help?

“Are you going to the noon meeting?” Another intern asked. “I don’t think we have time. It will take us another 15 minutes to get there,”  I answered.  In the prior six weeks I had made the trip many times, and it always took me 15 minutes. “It is on the other side of the hospital,” I said to him.  He turned and motioning for me to follow as he held open a side door.  Stepping through the door I saw the lunchtime meeting room. I turned to my friend, and shook my head in disbelief. We both began to laugh.

Although some people are born with an explorer gene that encourages new physical and emotional frontiers, most people find change incites fear, skepticism and an unwillingness to ask for help. Although a few people readily seek direction and advice most do not. Reasons include shame, guilt, fear, anger and embarrassment. Often these feelings are biological bodyguards that protect us from pursuing change. This rigidity, however, leads parents and children away from new discoveries and invisible opportunities. Children emulate the behaviors parents model.

From an early age parents must encourage and support independence and exploration linked to a willingness and ability to ask for help.  Schedules, routines and rituals are code words parents rely upon to justify a lack of willingness to ask and accept advice and direction from another. When you ask others for help and accept their help with non-judgmental acceptance and gratitude you are teaching your child the power of both giving and sharing.

Thirty years ago my rigidity brought me a moment of laughter and learning I will never forget.  The next time you are on an outing with your child stop and ask for directions and advice from strangers you meet. Stop assuming that your way is the right way. Asking for help may open a door you may also never forget.