Do you know this person?
In our daily lives we come into contact with many people; friends, family, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, familiar faces, but, what do we really know about that person and how will we help them? Would we even recognize that they needed help?
Think about the people you meet and how you include them or exclude them from your life. What if we included everyone in our lives with no expectations, only intention of a simple question: How can I help?
I knew in college, a girl named Lisa. She was very intelligent. We were both in the same major of Psychology and shared some classes together. She helped tutor me in Statistics. I knew she was living at home with her family and worked as a CAN at a nursing home. Well, Christmas break came and went, and spring semester began. I was sure I would see Lisa in one of my classes, but I didn’t. I just thought she had a schedule change and I would catch up with her in the Student Lounge for coffee. Before I knew it, 3-4 weeks had gone by. I had asked fellow classmates if they had seen her or knew what happened with Lisa. One of my classmates had seen her in the Student Lounge, but thought she had dropped out of school. Another classmate speculated that Lisa had fallen on hard times and was doing drugs, as he noted she looked awful. I kept walking through the Student Lounge looking for her and staying later on campus in hopes of crossing paths.
It would have been easy just to chalk it up to well some kids make it and some kids can’t handle it. But, I wanted to know why and what had changed for Lisa over the break. I finally caught up with her one late afternoon. I sat down and asked her how she was doing and what she had been doing that semester. She told me she was going to take a break that spring and catch up over the summer with classes. I asked how her break was and how work was going. She told me that the holidays were stressful at home and that she had resigned her job at the nursing home after a patient she had worked with for 3 years had died. My heart sank. I knew Lisa was overwhelmed in life. Significant life stressors had just occurred:
*Death/loss of a loved one.
* Loss of job.
*Dropped out of school.
*No maintaining/loss of significant relationships.
I told Lisa that I thought we should walk over to the Counseling Center and talk with the Director there. Because if I were in Lisa’s shoes, I would feel overwhelmed. Lisa remarked that she didn’t need help; she just needed a break from school and her parents to get off her back. I wasn’t going to take “No” for an answer, and Lisa didn’t want anyone’s help-she reminded me that she was an A+ student, so therefore, she didn’t need help. I already knew the staff in the Counseling Center from having gone there myself and I shared this with Lisa, assuring her there was no shame in going to the Counseling Center and having some help to develop a new plan of action in her life. She had helped me with Statistics and I wanted to help her, even if we weren’t life-long friends or family.
It took almost a week to convince Lisa to go to the Counseling Center. I walked with her to the center and into the office, introduced her to the staff and then asked Lisa if she was o.k. to speak with the counselor without me in there? Lisa told me she would be fine to speak with the counselor by herself.
For confidential reasons, I do not know what happened to Lisa. I hope she is doing well and thriving in life. Do you know this person? Don’t we each know someone like Lisa in our lives? It doesn’t matter her age, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status in life. She could be your friend, sibling, relative, co-worker, neighbor, classmate. We each have the leadership ability to help each other out, be caring, respectful and compassionate, act with empathy in the face of adversity, lend a hand and do the right thing. After all, wouldn’t we want to be treated with the same dignity and respect if we were in Lisa’s shoes?
In our daily lives we come into contact with many people; friends, family, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, familiar faces, but, what do we really know about that person and how will we help them? Would we even recognize that they needed help? From this moment forward, always ask yourself: How can I help?, and TAKE ACTION TO HELP.