What is Helping?

A book called Helping caught my eye. The subtitle is How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help. Edgar H. Schein makes a case for why today’s complexity, IT, and social responsibility increase the need to ask for help and to give help.

Schein defines helping as “giving someone the ability to do something that they cannot do for themselves.”

This prompts many questions:

• What is the difference between giving advice and helping?
• Does helping put helpers in a one-up situation and those helped in a one-down situation?
• How can we create healthy helping relationships where there is dignity and authentic interaction for giver and receiver?
• Why does the offer of help often meet resistance and resentment?
• How can giving and receiving blend into one unified interaction?

Questions of the Month

• How do you respond to help when it is offered?
• When do you ask for help?
• What makes helping satisfying to both parties?

Practice of the Month

Self-Observation: Balance of Helping and Being Helped

For one week, keep a tally of times you help someone. Keep a tally of how you are being helped. When you are finished, reflect on these questions:

How does it feel to ask for help and to give it? What are the results of the help? In what ways are you helping? What are you learning?