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Helping others.

June 24, 2014 3 comments

 

“I don’t know him that well.”

“I don’t have extra money right now.”

“I’m sure that others will help.”

Those three things are all true.  I have never met Oren Miller.  I’m aware of him via his blog, and the fact that he started an online group for us dad bloggers to connect to share ideas about both fatherhood and blogging.   I’m sure we’ve participated in some of the same discussions that have arisen over the years, but I can’t recall more than one time in which I wrote a message directly to Oren.

The part about the money is true as well.  While we are not even close to poverty, we tend to live paycheck to paycheck, and this month we got smacked with the need for repairs to both of our cars.  Still, when the next payday after I heard the news arrived, I consulted with my wife and we gave.

My assumption that others would help was true in this case but often not true in others.  When news that Oren was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer hit our group, the response was overwhelming.  I’m sure Oren got hundreds of cards in less than a week, and when Brent of DesignerDaddy started a GiveForward fundraiser to help raise money for Oren’s family, people stepped up.   While it was true in this case that others have helped, making that assumption in general is often what causes folks not to get help.  Called “Bystander Apathy,”  when everyone makes the assumption that someone else will help, the less likely it is that someone will actually step up and do so.

Bystander apathy is probably one of the reasons why gaining up the courage to ask for help can feel so difficult to do.  We all want to feel self sufficient, and it’s hard enough to gain the trust in others needed to disclose that you have a need without feeling shame.  Then when you add into the equation that with asking likely will come rejection, it’s no wonder that most folks will shy away from asking.

So how do we overcome this?  I’m no expert, but I think the insurance commercial which shows that helping others can be contagious is on to something.  Obviously we can’t do everything for everyone, but if more of us took opportunities to help out where and when we can, we would all be better off.  This will also show our kids the benefits and importance of helping and giving, and hopefully work toward reducing the stigma involved with making the decision to ask in future generations.

Note: While what I wrote above about others stepping forward to help Oren and his family is true, this is a long and hard fight and they have only just begun.  If you would like to read more and consider giving to Oren, please do so here. Sharing this and other posts about Oren is also a free and easy way to help. Thanks.

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