Asking For Help

How do I learn to ask for help?!?!?!

The good news is that you already know how to, you’ve just forgotten. All you have to do is remember.

Infants are born knowing how to do about 3 things, one of which is ask for help. Every cry is a desperate plea for help. Change Me! Feed Me! Hold Me! We all knew how to cry at one time and it worked.

As children learn to speak, we no longer honor the cries like we used to and children have to learn a new way to ask for what they want. They take what they already know (crying) and combine it with what they are trying to learn (talking) and they try to cry and talk at the same time and we all recognize this as “whining.” We all knew how to whine at one time and it worked.

The whining is annoying and we tell them to quit whining. Some parents take the time to teach their children to say things without whining and those children easily learn to ask for what they want. Even when parents don’t take the time to do that, kids are pretty resourceful and they usually figure out that concept on their own somehow. That’s called asking for what you want and we all knew how to do it at one time and it worked.

We can’t give children everything they want, so we begin to tell our children “no” to some of their requests. Once again, kids are clever creatures and they learn how to ask for lots of stuff with the hope that they might get some of it, ask for one thing repeatedly with the hope that one of their requests will be granted, and ask more than one person for the same thing with the hope that one will say “yes.” We recognize these techniques as “asking for more than you want” and “persisting.” These techniques require HOPE and we all had it at one time and it allowed us to use those techniques and they worked.

All that asking gets to be obnoxious, so we begin to tell our kids things like, “stop being so greedy,” “you’ve gotten enough of that,” “money doesn’t grow on trees,” and “if you ask me that one more time, buddy, you’re going to your room for the rest of the night!” This is where kids tend to run out of resources. They’re all out of techniques that work and out the window goes the HOPE. They learn to ask for less, get less, and live with less.

Long about the teenage years, there comes along a whole bunch of new stuff that they want and the HOPE is rekindled. They want clothes, jewelry, CDs, video games, a phone, a car, and their own apartment and they start to ask for stuff more than ever. However, they’ve got no new techniques to use. They’ll try asking for more than what they want, they’ll try persistence, they’ll try asking Dad when Mom says “no,” and they’ll even break out a couple of the really old techniques and you’ll see teenagers whine and cry to try to get what they want. We all broke out the old techniques at one time and they worked.

Parents soon realize that they can’t give a teen everything they want and they know it’s not good for them even if they could, so they start saying “no” a lot again. Teens, if you haven’t already guessed, are resourceful folks as well. They soon figure out that if they want anything, they’re going to have to get it themselves, with or without you. They strike out on their own and they get their own stuff. We all learned how to do it ourselves and it worked.

So, that’s what we do. We do it ourselves. Everything. We don’t need anyone’s help for anything anymore because we are a grown-up. We even reject unsolicited help because we don’t need it anymore from anyone. We’re an adult now. We can do it ourselves. We all learned to be self-reliant and it worked.

Until … We come across something that we can’t do or can’t get or can’t have. We don’t know what to do. We’ve forgotten. We’ve been self-reliant so long that we have completely forgotten things we used to know how to do. You still know how to do them, you just have to remember.

Ask for more than you want.



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