How To Help People Who Need It Most
I recently received a message from a friend who has had a history of hardship. He’s been stuck financially for a long time with no one to support him and this problem seems to follow him no matter where he goes or tries to do.
But as I have imagined, the situations that the world is going through right now have made matters worse for him. With more people conservative with their money, they’re more hesitant about spending money on things beyond food and shelter.
Combined with dwindling supplies in places, my friend is in a spot where he is struggling.
With no one to turn to, he’s asking me — yet again — for money.
In any other situation, the answer to this is simple. I’ve told him before I wouldn’t be helping him out financially.
But during these difficult times, where money is more valuable and must be carefully managed, it’s stories like these where it can be emotionally harder to turn these people down.
But you still want to be helping them out in some way. During these times, I’d encourage you to consider these things.
Before Helping, Weigh Your Options
While we think that helping people, in general, is a good thing, I’ve come to learn over the years that there is a right way to help and a wrong way to help.
I recall sharing a story last year about how to help people properly. The story entailed a mother and her five kids (I presume). The kids pestered their mother for money which resulted in her caving in and giving the kids some money for the arcade nearby.
How I helped her out entailed a small gesture. I picked up her garbage that was resting at her work space and noted that her kids were stressing her out and thought she could use a little help.
In my book, that was the right way to help her. This is based on the fact she said thanks and smiled.
What would’ve been wrong is if I gave her advice on parenting. Even though my advice would be well-intentioned and based on what little parenting skills I have, she wouldn’t have been as grateful for it or towards me.
In both of those instances, I would be helping her, but in completely different manners.
These intentions apply to any scenario where you are given the chance to help someone.
I could give my friend money to support himself temporarily. But he’ll be coming back for more while I place myself in tighter financial predicaments.
Or I could find some other way to help him out. Whatever that happens to be.
I know that Denmark, Netherlands, and the UK are paying workers to stay at home and do nothing. Furthermore, Canada has rolled out a plan as well through extra benefits through GSTC. There is also talk of EI benefits, though those may be on the provincial level.
While these are short-term solutions, this is a short-term problem. Countries will develop vaccines and be able to fight off COVID in due time.
My point is it’s important that you look at other options outside of the most obvious one to give. Just because it’s an obvious one doesn’t always make it the best way to help someone.
Setting aside the obvious choice, you may have to do research or look for other possibilities or options to consider. Even if you don’t think the person is likely to follow through with some due to various reasons, it can often be beneficial for both parties.
During these tougher times, you don’t feel as constrained and feel good that you’re helping out. On the reverse, while the person may not be getting the direct help they were expecting, the assistance could lead to other things.
Assist By Teaching When Possible
As the old saying goes:
“Give a man a fish and he’ll be fed for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll be fed for life.”
In times where people are struggling to some extent, I believe there is a lot of value in lessons and revelations. While this pandemic is spreading across the globe, I see this as an opportunity for some level of growth.
It’s an opportunity for people to delve into freelancing or in general work from home. That or maybe catch up on books you have kept on your bookshelf for months.
For me, it’s getting back into writing frequently and striving to dish out some more content.
Lessons come in various forms and at various levels. For those that are in rock bottom territories, I think these individuals can benefit from these the most.
I know this because if it wasn’t for my parents, I would be in a similar situation to what my friend is going through right now. But I know that my actions wouldn’t have changed.
I’d still be focused on my writing and building up that habit like I did from the start. How I would do that would’ve shifted, of course, but the intentions would’ve been the same.
Because after I hit my stride, I taught myself how to write so I could better provide for myself.
In terms of helping out someone in need during these times, you might not have the appropriate skills, but you can still help by getting people to think about what skills they can use and what ideas they can develop.
I feel that this form of assistance is one of the stronger ways to help someone outside of any other method.
Bringing People Together Is Key
Even if you’ve looked at other options and have tried helping in getting them to look at their skills, one other way of helping is being together with them. Of course, there is social distancing right now so when I mean together, it’s there in spirit.
With social media, texting, and calling, there are lots of ways for us to stay connected and sometimes that’s all it takes. We are still social creatures and there is healing and satisfaction when we talk to others and give a few encouraging words as well.
These things can help us in big ways in a time where there is a lot of difficulties for everyone involved.
And again, sometimes this is the best way to be helping people, especially those who are struggling so much.
It’s Harsh But Sometimes It’s For The Best
Right now, those who are getting hit the hardest are people where their government/local programs can’t support them, are cut off from income, and have low money reserves.
As heartless as it may be, giving those people money isn’t the best way to help them. Who knows how long the quarantine in your town or country will last. We have no clue how quickly this pandemic will spread or if we’re even at the peak of this yet.
Instead, for those who need it most, I would encourage a deep reflection and see how one can make the most of this situation. In times of difficulty like these, we need to be creative about what we can do and to try new things.
And any person who is willing to influence those in these situations in their circle or in a broader scope is what I think we need right now.