Yesterday (August 19) was the first day of school for my kids. The morning began rather smoothly as Ty was super-excited (in a bouncing off the walls kind of way) about starting first grade. Anne got her shower and got dressed, and then came out and, almost in tears, asked me to help her comb her hair (which was extremely tangled due to her NOT combing her hair for a couple of days, despite reminders from mom.) As I worked to gently remove the tangles from her hair, Ty came out pretending to strangle one of Anne’s stuffed animals. Well, that brought the almost tears out in full force.
Once the hair was de-tangled, I invited Anne to come and sit on my lap and talk. (No, 4th grade is not to old to sit on mom’s lap.) I asked her what was going on, and once we got past the tangles, the tired, and the strangled bear, she confessed that she was afraid. She told me third grade was a little hard, and she was worried that fourth grade was going to be even harder.
What do you say to that? I can’t tell her that it won’t be – because it will be. I can’t just tell her it’s going to be alright – because it might not seem like it to her. So prayed a silent, “Give me words, Lord,” and hugged her close.
I told her it probably would be a little harder, but that would be true every year of school, and with most everything in life. I told her that when she feels overwhelmed she needs to ask for help – from God, from me, from Mike, from Grammy and PaPa, or from her teacher. I told her that we weren’t meant to go through life alone – that’s why we are part of a family and a community. And I told her that the church website that I have been working on for weeks would never have come together in time if I hadn’t asked my co-workers and friends for their help.
So, if all this is true, why is it that we don’t ask for help more often? Pride? Embarrassment? A need to be able to handle it all on our own? I know I am terribly guilty of trying to do it all by myself and not ask for any help – whether that be at home or at work. We are reminded throughout the Bible that we are to care for one another – which assumes that someone else knows we need help, which means we need to ask for it, and accept it when it is offered.
Anne stopped crying and accepted my words and ended up having a fine day at school. Now I just need to make sure I am modeling what it means to ask for help when I need it – and give help when it is needed from me.