Diary ( Actually Helping )
The modern euphemism: “We must
catch up some time” can hint at more than possible insincerely. A serious
attempt to maintain contact would go something like this: “Name a day next week
and we will meet at the xxxxxxx at 11.00 am”, or “Are you free next Thursday to
have dinner here?” People who offer
non-specific invitations are likely to be those that provide as we say: “every
assistance but short of actual help.”
Real assistance in organisations requires goal directed activity. Elsewhere it can be a bit harder.
Masonic benevolence should
extend beyond simply donating money. To provide the often necessary emotional
and physical help requires an acute sensitivity and understanding of
requirements. The relief of associated
mental pressures will probably be needed.
It must be recognised that many people, especially as they get older and
infirm, may not realise their need for assistance or are too proud to ask. To understand the circumstances of one to be
helped, close personal contact needs to be maintained over a long period of
time and their confidence needs to be won.
It may be necessary to maintain a diary of future events about the
afflicted containing times of key events so as to maintain timely contact. Sometimes it is a benefit to do some study so
as to understand better the circumstances of the afflicted. Help must be given as unobtrusively as
possible and with no conditions implied or attached. The problem must be dealt with, not the
circumstances of its occurrence. There
can be no critique of the situation: non-judgemental. Generosity in all actions must be discreetly
demonstrated but nothing done that will cause embarrassment.
Punctuality is essential and
the helper must come dressed and equipped for the occasion. A good approach is to initiate assistance by
saying: “I am going to come around tomorrow and do so and so – OK? Or “May I engage a cleaner to regularly clean
your house; investigate getting some home nursing and find a GP who will do
home visits?” Be prepared to do more
than called upon. Help requires your
entire attention un-distracted by long calls on the telephone of having to rush
off to another engagement. Just “popping
in” or an odd phone call is often seen as tokenism – quality time and a
personal presence is needed on most occasions.
Just a few nice handwritten words on a Christmas or birthday card are
not enough either. It is inadequate to
say ring me if you want a hand when help is obviously needed. You must look and act as if you care. If you are not prepared to provide assistance
of this nature then it is probably better to drop the charade and say that you
cannot or do not want to provide assistance that will actually help so that
other arrangements can be made.
Learning to provide assistance
that is actually helpful is a bit like learning to be an employee. Some never learn to do that successfully any
more than they learn to manage their domestic and family circumstances. It is necessary to understand the goals and
objectives of your boss, your bosses’ likes and dislikes, to be tolerant of
your bosses’ manner. Learn what outcomes
are expected and become a problem solver.
It requires a regular dialogue between you and your boss to determine if
what you are doing is what is wanted or if there is anything else that your
boss would rather have done. This done,
your assistance may actually be helpful!