How Can I Help You?

Helping others

Recently, while going through my “works-in-progress” folder, I found a comment I had saved. I made note of this because I don’t usually copy my own comments, but for some reason, with this one I did.

I had talked about my dad and his approach to being a doctor; how he was often paid through the barter system, rather than with cash.

Sometimes his fee was paid with a basket of homegrown vegetables, a loaf of bread, a pie or even a knitted comforter.

I still have two of the knitted comforters one patient gave him. They remind me of how much my dad cared for his patients. He felt responsible for making sure they received the medical care they needed, even if they couldn’t pay for it.

My dad wasn’t always an easy father to live with, but he raised me to believe I have a responsibility to help those who need it.

For the most part, I’ve tried to live up to my dad’s teachings. I volunteer in my community, give to a variety of causes and respond when disasters strike in my country and in others.

Yet, to be honest, there have been many times when I’ve been to a blog where someone is struggling and appears to need help. I may have left a supportive comment, but I didn’t go any further than that. I didn’t ask the person, “How can I help you?”

Community help

Some might say the blogosphere is very different than our local neighborhoods, our communities or even our nations, but is it really?

In the blogosphere, we become connected to each other, sometimes even more than we do with our neighbors. While we may not recognize each other if we passed on the street, our written words link us, through our blog posts, our comments and on Facebook and Twitter. In many ways, we act like members of any community.

So, lately I’ve been pondering the question: What is our responsibility to our blogging friends and community? How far should we go to help a blogger who is struggling?

Your thoughts

I’m curious what you think about this subject. How do you feel about reaching beyond the comment box to help a fellow blogger?

Here are some questions you might consider commenting on:

What do you think our responsibility is regarding helping members of our blogging community?

What, if any, are the dangers to contacting someone you don’t know well, but who seems to need help?

If you knew a blogging friend who needed help, what approach would you take to help this person?

Blogging is a free expression of emotion. If you ask to help, are you invading someone’s privacy if they didn’t request help?

What do you think is the best way for a blogger to request monetary help for his or her blog?

Something to think about

In writing this article and not wanting to duplicate, I went to Barbara’s blog, “Blogging Without A Blog” and reviewed her archives. They are extensive and an excellent resource:~) During my visit, I came across a very touching request that Barbara made while seeking help for a blogger she knows.

One line in this post stood out for me. She said:

“Individually we can all do a little, but as a group, we can do a lot.”

Photograph by: Godfried Edelman