When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers; you will always find people who are helping.’” (Fred Rogers) – as posted on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
I still fondly remember Fred Rogers and his children’s TV show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Watching that show with my kids as they were growing up I was always impressed with how calming and soothing it was to watch. Fred always spoke in a soft welcoming tone and the shows content was never jarring or controversial – just full of peace and love.
Fred’s mom’s advice is something that we need to take to heart in light of recent world events. As you watch the new reports; if you look carefully, at the videos from the scene there are lots of panicked people rushing away from the places where the horror took place, but there are also a few rushing towards those same places, ready to help. Those weren’t all first-responders. There are always people who jump into action to help in any emergency. They may just provide welcoming and comforting arms to hug a frightened person or they may end up covered with blood as they try to help the wounded or injured. The key is that they act. They are helpers.
What is your reaction to events, be they horrific accidents or some intentional mayhem? Do you run away and hide or do you run to help? These days it seems that many people’s reaction involves whipping out their smartphone and starting to video the scene. Did you ever notice a few days later that it is the heroes that they captured on video actually rushing in to help that are being given the medals and awards and not the videographer.
I’m reminded of the final episode of Seinfeld in which the Seinfeld characters stood by videoing and commenting on the mugging that was taking place across the street from them. The characters ended up going to jail for their failure to act. In my mind, that was one of the worst final episodes in TV history. It wasn’t funny and left no room to empathize with a cast of characters that we had all come to love. If anything we may have shared a collective sense of guilt over having done something similar.
We all face many choices to act, react or retract from events going on around us almost every day. Most are not big horrific events. Many are small personal dramas or traumas playing out in our friends or acquaintances. Someone may get a phone call from their doctor with bad news. Someone comes into work the day after breaking up a relationship. You meet a homeless person on the street.An elderly neighbor slips and falls and is laid up in their home. Someone spills their drink all over themselves at a restaurant. A lady with two small children in tow is trying to load up a big box into her car. A small child waits nervously to cross a busy street. A friend confides that he/she has a terminal disease or that they have just received an eviction notice on their home.
Those are not the fires or shootings or traffic accidents that make the evening news and you will likely not ne called into the mayor’s office to receive a reward for helping with any of these. Do you turn away or hurry by those in need or do you offer to help? When you see something like this unfolding in front of you do you see the helpers? Are you content to allow them take this on by themselves or do you als0 jump in to see if there is anything that you can do, too? You will never have to think back and say I coulda, woulda, shoulda, and then feel guilty; if you do the right thing to begin with and try to help.
Have a great day, and if you are given the opportunity; be a helper today.