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Help! I Need Somebody.

It's easy to look at someone in a situation and remark how bad it is. Some go farther by showing empathy or sympathy toward the caught up or afflicted. There are some who also look for ways to help people find relief. They don't focus on the problem. They look for a solution to end it.

Solutions may come in the form of advice, wisdom, direction, guidance, or physical assistance. People in situations may desire relief, but are unaware of how to get it. Their knowledge base is limited and they endure issues much longer than anticipated because they need help. Finding the right type of help challenges people. Advice is no substitute for a helping hand. Giving money is no substitute for genuine empathy. It is important to know what people need and if you are willing and able to lend that type of support.

I grew up in a time when kids built and raced go-karts. The kids in my neighborhood had them and I tried to build my own. I found some wood and some old wheels from a lawnmower. I could not disassemble the lawnmower and became very frustrated in that process. My father came to the back door of our home and watched me try, then get frustrated. He saw what I wanted to accomplish and without saying much told me to get in the car. We were going to the hardware store.

Once we arrived at the store, my father bought wheels, nuts and bolts, axles, wood, screws, nails and paint. We went home and built a go-kart, the best in the neighborhood. My father recognized the type of help I needed and created a solution for my problem. He did not chastise me or humiliate me for failing in my attempt. He helped me complete a task which I thought impossible, building my self-esteem in the process. It was the right help for the moment. My father was good at helping others.

Helping means giving what people need to make them feel better. People may need a word of encouragement. They may need a few dollars. They may need a listening ear. They may need you to roll up your sleeves and get dirty with them. Empathy is the beginning of helping, putting yourself in someone's position no matter how they got there. People with poor attitudes are quick to highlight problems and believe speaking about the problem repeatedly will motivate people to do something about it. Such chatter makes things worse. Empathy also enables you to see what people need and give them the help that is most effective.

People everywhere have problems. People need solutions to those problems. My mother taught me that if you see a problem and have the means to fix it, you should. Seeing, then doing, is helping. Some people just need a

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