Helping is a lifestyle choice!
“I help because I can, because I need to, because I fear if I didn’t the world would cease to exist”
I was raised by parents who instilled values in me that would stand the test of time. Taught to respect my elders, pull my weight, and treat others the way I wanted to be treated. My dad was a brilliant man, at least that is what I would always hear my uncles say about him. He knew just about everything about everything and was able to apply his knowledge in practical ways. He was well versed in construction, mathematical computations, philosophy and even could find his way around the topic of biology. In college it is rumored he did not have to study but aced classes naturally. A military man with a gift for gab, this fellah could talk with the best of them and spin a tale if there ever was a need. My mother an angel. She always knew just what to say at the perfect time to anyone in need of a word.
She met people where they were, with no judgments and with an open heart. And she could warm a meal like no other. Growing up in the city I saw many things, encountered many people, and learned to enjoy every experience. Equipped with the adaptability of my father and the humble disposition of my mother I adopted a positive outlook of life. I learned very early that people are Unique and that we all have our own story to tell. There was a time in fifth grade that I had a substitute teacher who had a weird voice. Well, at least to me. She appeared to talk through her nose. Sounded like miss piggy giving out class room instructions and I really teased her about her voice. She pulled me to the side on one occasion and explained that it was not polite to tease people or put them down for being different.
Along the way on life’s journey, I have had many conversations like this, either as the receiver of an ethical rant or as the deliverer. Between my parents, teachers, family and friends I appear to have become a culmination of positive quotes, clichés, and circumstances. It helps that I attended Washburn High school where diversity was defining. The opportunity to dialogue with people from all walks of life is powerful, not to mention priceless. I saw in my school years those that were fortunate, less fortunate and even those that were not even close to fortunate. We were all in the same class, doing the same work, sharing the same time. A microcosm of society and getting along very well for the most part. My mother encouraged me to keep a sharp eye out for those who could benefit from a friendly embrace. My father illustrated philosophical concepts to me and challenged me to see things no just from my point of view but from others as well. Of course, my siblings over time showed me how to cooperate with others.
People are fun. There are so many different personalities to embrace. Different experiences to hear about and learn from. Not everyone is the same and it’s challenging to image how you would respond to specific people and then to encounter them. To see if you have the passion and courage to except different perspectives. I could write forever about how the differences in people fascinate me. That would be my weird quirk. Everyone was once a kid and have went through whatever they have to become the person they are. So, it’s always all good. And after having a kid myself I would imagine what it would be like to never meet your great great grandchild. On that thought I assume any person could potential resemble my great great grandchild. And no matter how the kid turned out they would be precious and instantly all bias would be sideline. This would be part of my philosophical dad coming out through me, but I digress.
From as early as I can remember I have always wanted to help others when I could. I remember after 2 failed attempts and finally getting my driver’s license I would see people stranded on the sides of roads. I would drive by thinking I should pull over and help them, as I continued driving. It’s dangerous to pull over and help a stranger, especially after watching all the movies and listening to the news. I remember rationalizing this thought and concluding that I was a young man so the chances of danger may not be as high. I pledged the next time I would stop to help. Ironically just ahead of me was another car stranded. I drove by them and exited the next exit just to return to the stretch of highway they were on and I pulled over. They appeared to have run out of gas an needed a ride to the gas station and then again back to their car. I helped them, their car started, they thanked me, and it felt good for all parties involved.
That’s what helping feels like, good! From helping my teachers pass out books to helping my classmates’ study for test and doing chores around the house. Helping has always felt amazing. I know It’s not practical to pull over for every stranded individual as I may never get to where I am going. Although there was a time, I was convinced that helping someone would mean that I am excused for being late to wherever I was headed. I was even willing to accept the consequence if this was not the values held by others. The way I see it is that we are dealing with a finite amount of time, no matter what I am doing I will always be around people. So, one of the greatest things I can do is help. In todays society money is the big goal, but the idea of money and all that comes with it is part of a social construct. It’s importance fades as soon as I do. I asked myself once, what is valuable and can stand the test of time? The answer was surprisingly, the memory of a kind and helpful soul. I help because I can, because I must, because I fear if I didn’t the world would cease to exist!
By Jeffery Bostic