Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two Kinds of Help

I remember growing up, I always wanted to help my dad, but was so eager, I would move two or even three steps ahead of my dad. What I then though was helpful, was in fact not. Time and time again I wrecked a project, by gluing something in the wrong place or ripping something. My dad, would get very angry, and I felt it was disproportionately so. After all I was only eager to help. For a long time, I was bitter about this, but now, I have a whole new outlook.

As I am older and have ongoing projects of all sorts, I find myself on the other end of this dilemma. I often find myself with people who are willing and eager to help but only in the way that they want to help, which unfortunately often is not helpful. As part of a party, and repeatedly on campaigns, there is a logic to the madness. What looks like chaos is actually very carefully, thought out strategy.

When people ask for help, it is because it is necessary, and it is so valuable to help in the way that moves the project or goal forward. Imagine a friend asks you for help with a moving project and you say yes, but I only want to sort stuff. Well, that may or may not be helpful, by the time you get there, everything might already be packed. What then?

All this to say, being helpful is good if it comes from the right place, without a huge price tag and demands. That kind of help is appreciated beyond belief. The other kind of help becomes very much an unappreciated burden.