Knowing When You Are Needed

Tuesday, April 24, 2018, by Kashay Webb

I remember thinking last summer at many of my service sites in Peru about my purpose in the country. I served as many things during my time there: a tutor, a teacher, community center aide, teacher's assistant, whatever those around me needed me to be. I could not help but think though what would those children's lives be like without me? When agreeing to volunteer we are often happy to help knowing that there are people who need us. Sure, I was a great addition to community leaders and teachers who could really use the help and my service sites were in impoverished areas that lacked may resources, but even still the children would have been just fine without me. I am in no way diminishing the value in service, as it can be a tremendous force in people's lives and there are grave situations that require benevolent volunteers. I also believe that I did add value to every service site I was apart of. I am saying though that without me, their lives would go on.

And so, it is the same for people in my life. And in your life. We have to be careful about intervening in the lives of others, especially if they did not ask us to do so. As I have grown older, I have realized this with much more clarity (which is the case for many things in my life, thank goodness). It has been difficult considering that I love to help others. I learned though that if I want to respect people as as individuals who are free to choose, make mistakes, learn, and grow, I must be cautious of when to offer my help and how I am offering it because sometimes what you think of as being helpful can look like something different to the person you want to help.

So let us remember to ask, "Do you need my help?" or "In what way can I help you?" instead of assuming that those around us need help and in the way we think is best to deliver it. Each and every one of us on this planet has a different journey and leads our lives in our own way. So let us remember to love all, where they are in their journey, and how they are.