I Hate Asking for Help

I hate asking for help.

When I was a high school teacher on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, I also advised the drama club. We were set to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream for our spring show and the week before curtain, we lost half of our cast to the Denver March Powwow. It was a rather normal thing for families to pull their kids out of school and disappear down to Colorado for the event.

I called my dad to ask if he thought I was justified in canceling the show. He said I was, but challenged me to ask for help first. Maybe I could learn something, he told me.

So, I timidly asked some teacher friends if they'd take on the vacated roles; they were mostly small parts anyway. My neighbor ended up playing Francis Flute, a man who has to play a woman in the show and wear a dress. At times his first semester, he struggled to connect with his students - after the show, he was a god. We brought the house down and had to add an extra performance night. Most of my buddies still remember their lines from the show. Students connected with their teachers in a way they never would have before.

Asking for help is uncomfortable. It's difficult and scary to be vulnerable. Asking for help is even more frustrating when you're forced to ask for it (i.e. when you have a broken leg like I do right now). But I'm learning that it's always worth it. 

When we invite others in, we remind one another we can't do life alone. We cut the crap and realize we're more alike than we think we are. We can always learn something from moments of forced humility.

So go on, ask for some help. I recently began the practice and I have a full fridge and a modified, crutches-friendly home to show for it. I've also received a collection of new experiences and gratefulness for good friends.

That's what we're all after anyway, right?