It’s Thoughtful Thursday! How to answer one of the most important questions ever…

A young friend of mine answered a simple question with such grace and inner wisdom that I will never answer that question again without thinking of her and the gift she gave to all who asked.

My friend found herself in the middle of joy and sadness all at the same time.

  • Her new baby girl was bringing her and her husband immense happiness.
  • Her business was flourishing.
  • Life was so good!

And then without warning ,in the middle of all this euphoria,  came devastating news:

Her mother was ill with cancer and the  prognosis was not good.

So we all asked a very simple and natural question:

What can we do to help?

And she did something remarkable .

In the midst of all that was going on she had the presence of mind to ask for what she needed.

More importantly she also told us what she didn’t need.

I swear there needs to be a class in this…a whole class in asking for what we need.  Not what we want but what we need.  I know what she wants.  She wants her Mom not to be ill.  She wants her Mom to see her baby  grow up.  I prayed  and hoped that would  happen but at that moment  she had needs..she had big needs and she had littles needs and those of us who wanted to help could breathe a sigh of relief because we knew how to help.

And here is a little confession.  I am lousy at this.  I either don’t answer the question, or say I am fine or somehow manage on my own until I am drowning and have to make a desperate plea for some assistance.

I have no idea where this comes from but I know I am not alone.  I also know, for me, it is a deeply ingrained response dating back to when I was 5.  As I walked to kindergarten I stepped in a puddle and my shoes and socks got wet.  Rather than ask for help from the teacher I took off my shoes and socks and put them in the sunny window of the classroom to dry and then went to the dress up bin and put on a pair of high heels and wore them the entire afternoon. ( this was back when most of kindergarten was playtime) .

Yes I was resourceful.

Yes I was independent and solution oriented ( I laugh at this term when I think of being a solution oriented kindergartener)

Great qualities to have but not when things get bigger than wet socks and shoes.

Times when  I really need help.

Even when it might be something as simple as someone just being there with me and keeping me company.

Ironically I am the queen of wanting to help and giving help and being there.  ( guessing most of you are that way as well)

How very thoughtful of Valerie to give us a list, to be honest, to be open and what a relief to those that wanted to help.  It was roadmap to really being helpful and knowing it was what she wanted and needed.

So on this Thoughtful Thursday sit down and think how you will answer the simple questions:  How can I help?  What do you need?

It’s one of the kindest things you can do for yourself and those people in your life that really want to be of service.

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!

P.S. On a really amazing and awesome note, Valeries’s Mom underwent chemo and on Valerie’s birthday of all days they got the wonderful news that her scan was clean.  No cancer, nada, nothing and just recently a second scan with the same news. So happy for them!

Pretty cute for a "solution oriented kindergartner"

Pretty cute for a “solution oriented kindergartner”


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  1. Hi Jenn. Good point. I know I need to get better at this. And it doesn’t surprise me that you were so resourceful at such a young age. Also, wondering what exactly was on this gal’s list of needs . . .