February 24, 2014

We All Need Help

You get up in the morning with to the sound of an alarm clock. The house is warm (or cool depending on how you like it) with the aid of programmed thermostats. Technology is wonderful and so useful. 

You make breakfast, or maybe someone left a smoothie or cup of coffee for you in the kitchen. Your house is clean because you had a maid in on the weekend. You take a shower and get dressed, listening to the news on the radio. Checking your cell phone, you can see the quickest way to work today would be to catch the bus at the corner. Some days, your co-worker sees you waiting at the stop and picks you up. You always appreciate the gesture and chip in a little for gas.

Lunch at work is being delivered by a catering company today, so you didn't make your own lunch. You get home from work and find your partner has a migraine, so you take over the evening routine and let them head to bed early. You know they would do the same for you. You make sure to prep the coffee maker for them for the next morning and make sure the car has enough gas in it for them to get to work. 

Sounds like a typical day, doesn't it? No one exists in a bubble without any help. Technology helps us get up and out the door. Friends, family members and co-workers help us get through our day in many ways. Are some forms of help more socially accepted than others?

family walking hand in hand on OneQuarterMama.ca

We don't judge anyone for not getting a bus driving license and call them lazy or worse because they need to rely on someone else to drive a bus to get them to work. We also don't drive our own trains or fly our own planes (most of us, anyway), and that sort of aid is totally fine! Has anyone ever called you stupid for not being able to fly a plane?

We (typically) don't judge people who need house keepers to keep their house clean. We don't bat an eye when we have to order food from a restaurant instead of cook it ourselves. No one calls people weak or disabled or incapable for eating out. 

Yet, when a disabled person needs assistance for certain tasks, they are seen as weak, incapable, and even have functioning labels put on them (which I hate). If someone needs an aid to come to their house every morning, to get them out of bed, shower and dress them, they are seen as functioning at a lower level than the rest of us.

If a disabled person needs a cleaner to help with chores, they are seen as less than. If a non-disabled person hires a cleaner, they are seen as smart for making time for themselves and maybe even seen as somewhat affluent. Most of all, no one pities or chastises them for needing help. 

We need to think about the amount of help we all receive on a daily basis and we need to think about the judgements we make about others needing help. We all need help in different ways and at different times of our life we may need more. This does not reflect negatively on anyone's intelligence or capabilities. In many ways, help enables us to be more efficient, productive, organized and useful. Without help, we wouldn't get as far.

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