Be a Helper

Jul 16, 2023

This morning I came across a children’s sermon I gave at our church several years ago about Fred Rogers that got me thinking.  As I told the kids – when I was younger Mr. Rogers taught me we are all neighbors and that we should be kind to one another.  He also taught me that when I was upset, scared or confused, to look for the helpers – adults around us helping to make things better.  After giving the sermon, I recall having difficulty shaking off one question in my brain: “Now that I’m an adult, am I one of those helpers?”

Don’t get me wrong, I believe I help at times – but I also wonder how much more I could do if I was intentional about it.  In spending time analyzing my motivations, I realize my days usually center around two questions:  “What do I need to accomplish today?”  and  “How much time do I have to make these things happen?”  The problem with these questions is that they are dedicated to getting my own needs met.  And when I’m focused on my own issues, I inadvertently miss out on opportunities to help others.

This week I had the great fortune of being an opening speaking at the 2023 Soar to Success Summit.  It’s an online professional development conference with teachers around the globe tuning in.  As sessions were aired, attendees shared thoughts and posed questions on real-time Facebook threads, giving participants and presenters a forum for feedback and discussion. 

As I watched continuous comments drop in, I was taken aback by the supportive and encouraging nature of attendees.  Everyone in this professional learning community was, in some way, trying to help – which motivated me to want to do the same.  And the more I poured myself into supporting and helping others with their questions and concerns, the less I found myself obsessing over my own.  And therein lies the lesson.

When I wake up each morning, I’m thinking I need to focus on one question: “How can I help?”  Lord knows we come across a lot of upset, scared and confused people each day.  Perhaps if we all shifted our main focus away from getting our own needs met, towards helping others, the world would be a much better place. 

Of course, thanks goes to Fred Rogers for this simple, yet powerful life lesson. 

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