When the opportunity for me to be supportive arises, my modus operandi is pretty straight-forward: wince with empathy and ask, “What can I do for you?”.
In many cases, this is absolutely appropriate; in most cases, it’s a pretty lame attempt at easing my own conscious.
Yesterday, my wife taught me an invaluable lesson. Through her actions, she showed me that, instead of placing the burden of responsibility on the person you are trying to support by asking them,
“What can I do for you?”
Why not simply……do for them.
Don’t ask what you can do to be supportive, just be supportive.
My daughter tried out for the school musical yesterday. She worked really hard, and was both nervous and excited. Parents are not allowed into the audition, because the majority of us are psychopaths in the areas involving our children. As Andie was getting set to leave for school and Amanda was leaving for work, Amanda told Andie,
“I will be there when you are dismissed from school, so I can see you before you go to rehearsal.”
My heart melted.
Amanda is a professional woman, with very little time to herself, who has made arrangements to leave work early, simply to show her face at Andie’s school to demonstrate her support. She did not have any advice, pointers, or suggestions. She wasn’t going to schmooze the teachers or sway any judges. She just wanted Andie to know that she was proud of her, and that people cared.
She did not ask what she could do to be supportive; she just did it.
She did not ask how she could be helpful; she just helped.
What difference did it make in Andie’s little world?
It made all the difference.
Lesson learned: when trying to be supportive, if there is the option between asking a question and taking an action, take action.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,