Have you noticed how your feelings warm up towards the people who occasionally ask for your help? They show vulnerability and they elevate your position by asking for your help.
A parable comes to mind: a man forgives the debt of two debtors. To one he forgives a little. To another he forgives a lot. When asked who he will love more, the answer comes: “the one he has forgiven more”.
We love our children, more than other children. Because they need us in particular. I felt this distinction particularly as I felt called to adopt my two daughter. At some point they were both strangers to me. But as I was called to fulfill a very specific need of protection and provision, through parenting, these two Childen needed me, and I loved them.
I don’t like asking for help. I dislike being a burden. But my self sufficiency has created a more sterile environment around me.
I know my brother loves to help. It’s his love language. And as I need him very little, I believe my lack of need makes our relationship more distant. Our relationship thrived when I was in school. He answered very specific math and physics questions in junior high, and in college he helped me navigate the bureaucracy that first year far away from home.
If I was wiser, I’d find little things to offer or to ask for, to bring depth and offer opportunities for his love language. But I don’t. I admit my lazy creativity on the matter.
I don’t like neediness. I read right through it. you know how kids ask for help even if they could do it themselves? It creates closeness and subconsciously they know it. I play along. But I’m not always in the mood. And I feel bad about my black and white perspective and attitude. As it deprives me of opportunities.
This goes for all relationships. And it takes intentionality. Especially for young adult children. As they develop a new kind of relationship with their parents. The need for affirmation, approval, support, quality time …it all evolves. The balance tips over. Initiating social engagements with our parents, not because we need them but because we want show them love and respect and fulfill their new need for social inclusion. They would never say it, or ask for our time for fun. But they gladly accept it.
I learned to find solutions on my own, very early on. Then I had to learn to ask for help even if I could do it myself. This is the secret to my marriage. Let my husband step up. Hold my drive, my tongue, my initiative. Enlist his skills and let him be a dad, a husband, a man.
I don’t know how to ask for help, and I don’t like to be overly social. I am learning though. To belong, to be part of a community. I encourage my daughters’ independence and I hope to have the wisdom to always help well when they ask.