There are so many things we need to make decisions about every day. Are we exercising enough? Are we eating the right foods? Are we handling our finances properly, or dealing with family or personal situations in the best way possible. It’s so easy to become self-focused simply because we have so many things to do. Today I was reminded by both a 4-year-old and a mature adult, that even in the midst of my own thoughts and activities, I cannot forget to be other-focused.
Our son, Brian, recently shared a story with us that involved our just-turned-4-year-old grandson, Owen.
Brian, Owen, and his little sister Ella were playing at a school playground over the weekend. There are 2 play areas at this school, and Brian and Ella were in one area while Owen was riding his new bike on the adjacent basketball court. At the second play area about 500 feet away, was a man that Brian described as wearing torn and worn clothing, with long matted hair, not wearing any shoes, and doing push-ups. He was on the ground, of course; and he was huffing and puffing, quite loudly, as he did his pushups. Brian was helping Ella go down the slide; and when he glanced over to where Owen had been, he was no longer there. With a quick scan of the area, Brian saw Owen at the second play area talking to the stranger. He walked over, apologized for the interruption, and brought Owen back to the first play area with him.
On the way back, Brian said: “Owen, what have we told you about talking to strangers?”
Owen replied: “But I was just asking him if he was okay!”
Brian saw a man he didn’t know doing push-ups. Owen saw a man on the ground, making noises as if he might be hurt.
Should Owen, at 4, have talked to a stranger? No. But he was concerned. And he offered his help.
Today I read the Facebook post of a fellow designer and friend, Lou Clark (LouCee Creations). With her permission, I am sharing the experience she had today:
“Whilst walking Roman on this cold winters evening, I came across an elderly lady who was obviously confused. I kept looking at her whilst walking towards her and she asked me to help her as she couldn’t remember where she lived. I put her at ease instantly by reassuring her there was no way I was going to leave her until she was safe. She was relieved to hear that and it helped to put her at ease. The poor dear, could not remember her name or where she lived as she only just recently moved to my village. I phoned the police and through their questions found out she was 70 and that she knew her son’s name but not where he lived. They gave me an incident number and I stayed with her, talking about Christmas, family and my dog. Roman was very gentle with her and enjoyed the cuddles he was getting from her. I put my woolly hat on her head and got her to wear my gloves as I could see she was very cold. The local police phoned me back and I asked if it was ok if I walked her round to the local supermarket as their foyer will be much warmer to stand in, they said you can walk her anywhere you like darling, you are an angel for staying with her. Whilst walking to the supermarket, her son and his girlfriend pulled up in separate cars, they were so relieved they found her. I phoned 999 again with my incident number and got the son to speak to them, giving them her and his addresses. I am so pleased she is ok. She gave me a huge hug and thanked me for making her feel safe. My only concern is… would I have asked her if she was ok if she didn’t ask me for my help. I’d like to think I would have, but one thing for sure is I have learned a lesson this evening.. and that is I will most definitely ask anyone if they are ok if I think they look like they might be in trouble.”
After reading Lou’s post today and recalling Owen’s experience, I had to ask myself where I fall in the being-aware-of-others-needs category. I would like to think I would have reacted the same way that both of them did. But I know for certain the next time I see someone who even MIGHT be in need of help, I will recall their experiences and step up to the plate.
What about you? Have you had any similar experiences that you will share with us as further encouragement to perhaps step out of our comfort zone and help others when we see a need?