What I Learned About Helping, Fixing, and Serving

Something to peruse until I produce more, new/er content.

Please enjoy another capstone prompted-reflection… August 2013.

[Comment below with thoughts of your own, especially after checking out the readings included, at the beginning of the following prompt.]

After reading this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-koehler/power-with-power-over_b_312935.html) and the piece by Rachel Naomi Remen, Helping, Fixing, or Serving?, reflect on the ideas, emotions (if we could control them) and ideals that you have held and might hold in mind while interacting with someone that you consider to need your help. How might you reconsider your perception of this person and the situation in a way that actually honors and reveres their inherent equality with you? How might this change the way you work with and assist others? What would this look like? What would change? How might the outcome be different, better, or unexpected? What would be the benefit of this?

Remen’s article sparked a change in me, and how I may begin to address the service I give to others, right away. I hadn’t realized I was uncomfortable with offering “help” as it is described generally, until I looked through this lens. It has always felt patronizing, and I was often confused by people’s reactions to receiving “help” from me. Remen’s point of view on the superiority implied by “helping” others, while “service” seems to come from a place of making one’s self humble in the work, and glad in the sharing of resources, has given me a fresh outlook on offering what skills and resources I have, to contribute to a cause with which I align. Whether it’s serving to share childcare and transportation with other parents, or serving to unpack and make tenable ideas around poverty and access for community-members, I have a much clearer sense of the source of my actions as rooted in the human-condition… many hands do indeed make light work.

It is always illuminating to read back over one’s own works, if only to be sure one isn’t totally plagiarizing one’s self allatime.  On the subject of Helping versus Fixing versus Service, even without going to read the stuff that drove the reflection, a multitude of opinions await, I am sure. So I hope if you took the time read anything here, you might share your own impression of differences in the three, or maybe they’re synonymous to you.

Do tell.


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