What YOU can do

So my last post hit a nerve with people.

I wrote about how Maura had a very public meltdown. People stared. People walked past us. People sort of made comments after looking away.

Or…you know…the norm.

I also wrote how no one helped. So naturally, the comments were “I don’t know how to help!” and “What could I do to help?” and “I don’t expect they’ll want help so I don’t offer.”

But mostly “Tell us what we can do to help.”

I’ve mulled on this. I responded a couple times to comments. I brought it up to other bloggers who are in a similar boat as us. Then I got really annoyed.

Because the answer is simple.

Just offer to help.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

There. That’s it. If I don’t need help, I’ll respond with “No thank you.”

This is where you don’t get offended, or stop every offering help to anyone again. Because someone may say “Yes, please, could you…” – and then, you see if you can do the thing they ask. It may be holding a door open, or getting a cart, or pushing their cart to their car while they safely get the person melting down to the car.

It’s just that simple.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

I mean, really, do you have to ask what you can do?

If you’re uncertain about if your offer of help will do more harm than good, then look to the person with the person having the meltdown. Catch their eye and mouth the offer. If they wave you away or shake their head, then nod and smile and walk away.

There, that’s how you can do this. Again, pretty simple, huh?

And here’s the other thing…

Yes, I know it’s natural to want to stop and look. I got one comment of how they check to make sure abuse isn’t happening. I got a lot of “it’s human nature to look”.

Trust me, I get it.

But when you keep looking…or let your kids stare until their eyeballs roll out…or as we pass by, turn to mutter to your shopping mates…that’s going beyond human nature. Now you’re just making us feel like a sideshow.

I did not get any “You’re doing a good job mom” from anyone. Not even a “I feel your pain, kids are horrible, ammiright?” bonding. Not even one encouraging smile and nod of solidarity.

No, I got looks…and hushed tones…and raised eyebrows…and people making us feel like we were in the way (okay, we were in the way, but still…)

There was only one mom herding a trio of young teens past us…and the teens all began to gawk, and I heard her do a “Move along, nothing to see here” sort of thing and stopped their gawking.

To that mom…thank you.

To the rest of you – that’s something else you can do. Even if it’s telling yourself “stop gawking”. It may be human nature to initially look, but it’s human decency to not gawk at someone in a meltdown.

But really, you’re all overthinking the matter.

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

That’s all you really have to do.

And quite frankly, it’s a bit frustrating that I have to spell it out for people. I’m sorry if that offends, but my therapist says I need to start saying how I really feel about things.

 

 

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                            Yes, that’s a squirrel. No, it has nothing to do with this post.                                                                  Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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