Thursday, January 3, 2013

#3—Don't Ask for too Many Favors

26 Expressions of Love and Kindness Plus 1
#3—Don't Ask for too Many Favors

            Although we should be more than willing to share with others (as mentioned yesterday), we should not be anxiously looking for unnecessary handouts.  This is not the same as humbly accepting help that is offered.  In fact, one way we can positively touch other families is to allow them to share with us when they may feel inspired to do.  This is different than taking on the attitude that we are entitled to receive gifts from others.

            I do not feel I am explaining myself very well.  Let me give you this example.  One year in school my assigned seat for one class was always next to a boy who never brought paper to class.  The first time he asked to borrow a piece of paper I gladly passed a piece to him.  The next day he still didn't have any paper.  He said his mom hadn't been able to go to the store, so I smiled and gave him another piece.  This continued on days the teacher did not give us worksheets.  The next week (or the week after that) I asked him when his mom was going to the store.  He told me she had bought paper, but he had forgotten it.  By this time, I grudgingly gave him paper.  Then a few times, I refused.  I suppose I refused because I thought I was being taken advantage of.  If his mom could not afford paper, the least he could do was write smaller (not big and sloppy) and carefully take care of my paper so he could take notes on the back, too.  That didn't happen.  However, I went back to giving him paper—one sheet at a time—because when I didn't, he did not take any notes (and no one else would give him paper).  This is not a very good example either.

            Let's look at it this way.  I resented his continual requests because (still being a child and not being able to see the bigger picture) I felt he was being careless and irresponsible.  I was cheerfully willing to help someone in a "pinch" even if it happened more than once, but I felt like he was not even trying to do what he needed to do to have.*  I do not want to make others feel like my requests for favors are a continual burden, so as one expression of love and kindness, my goal is to not ask for too many favors.  This way when I do ask for help the other person is touched by having a chance to reap the satisfaction of sharing with someone in a pinch and not feel like he or she is being taken advantage of.

            *I continued to give him paper the rest of the school year because I think somewhere in my conscious I knew his mom probably had not bought him paper and barely provided him with enough clothes to wear—barely.  Telling this story actually makes me feel selfish, but other stories that come to mind of people lazily taking advantage of others with their requests are too "fresh" to put into print at this time, especially when the point I am trying to make is not what others did but how I want to approach friends with my needs when they arise. 

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