This week, my faith in human nature was restored! A dear friend of mine visited me to enquire about a development project he knew I had started, but that was so obviously stalled. Yet his was an unusual enquiry.
It lacked the usual latent judgement, and even the barely disguised sense of glee that usually accompanies such enquiries, masquerading as concern from people who secretly hope you’ll fall flat on your face.
What shocked me most was that the enquiry had a purpose: to help! After I explained my dilemma to my friend, what followed was a very fruitful discussion, including his advice containing tangible solutions to the problem that I was facing. It was surreal.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be, but I was genuinely shocked at the assistance I received, with no expectation of getting anything in return. Many of us love to accuse Batswana of having a ‘crab mentality;’ you see, crabs in a bucket could very easily escape if they climbed out one at a time, but instead, when they see one crab nearing the top, they pull it down, ensuring their collective demise! What a destructive mentality!
That type of thinking ensures that as many people as possible stay mediocre; and few advance. It doesn’t help anyone; yet many of us are still susceptible to crab-like behaviour. We don’t offer help or advice to others even when we’re in a position to; and many of us are loathe to seeing other people do better than we are, however marginally.
Often times, we may convince ourselves that we want to help, but we’re too busy. Or that, ‘if so-and-so really needs my help, why don’t they ask?’ But would we be receptive to requests of assistance; and if we can indeed help, then why not offer to?
If you’re a personal finance whiz and have a friend who can barely make ends meet, why not donate to them the gift of your time; and help them get to the position you’re in today? People never forget those who help them when they need it most, believe me!
We all know something that somebody else needs to know; and we’re all solutions to somebody else’s problem. There is something that comes so easily, and so naturally to us (our gift, or our calling) that somebody could really benefit from. Why not share that gift with someone who needs it?
God commanded us to “love one another,” but instead of looking for huge, magnanimous ways to display that love, why not start with the basics?
For example, do you “honour your mother and father?” Do you visit them often and assist them where it’s clear they need help? Do you visit other elderly relatives, who you know would love to hear from you? In every case, ‘love’ starts at home; and when you get it right there, you can move out to your friends, colleagues and the rest of your community.
As far as our community is concerned, don’t turn a blind eye to people whom you know could use your help. For instance, do you know your neighbour’s name; and why their kids stay home from school, when yours are busy getting a first class education?
We can’t help everyone in the world, but we can do our part to positively impact our immediate environment.
Man was “created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27); and “God is love” (1 John 4:8); so loving and helping our fellow human beings should be at the top of our priorities. We should want to do it, because it lies at the very core of our beings. Helping others allows us to manifest our God-like qualities; and to become the very best version of ourselves that we can be. Acts of kindness to one another also lie at the very heart of our happiness and overall success; they don’t just benefit those we are assisting.
If you don’t believe me, consider this story of a holy man, who was having a conversation with the Lord one day. He said: “Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.”??The Lord led the holy man to two doors.??He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water. The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful. ??But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths. The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering.??The Lord said, “You have seen Hell.”??
They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. ??The holy man said, “I don’t understand.”??“It’s simple,” said the Lord. “It requires but one skill. In heaven, they’ve learned the secret to happiness: feed one another!”
Are you starving, because you neglect to feed and be fed by the people around you? Regardless of how well-off you may be, if you’re not working as part of a mutually reinforcing and supportive team, your success is not sustainable.
No man is an island; so starting to today, seek to contribute in positive ways to others. Empower them with your knowledge or advice; teach them how to fish. Your kindness will come back to you.
Make it a great week!
Contact: [email protected]