FTSL Week 5: No Shame in Asking

Happy Monday, everyone. It’s time for another edition of my fall blog series FTSL (From the Sidelines), where I’m sharing lessons and inspirations discovered along the sidelines of my boys’ fall sports. Because, truly, life’s lessons can be found both on and off the field for people of all ages.

This week’s message: There’s no shame in asking for help.

We had downpours in the Fort most of Friday, so the soccer fields (being adjacent to one of our three rivers) were too flooded for Saturday play. That meant this week was spent again along the flag football sidelines, watching first- and second-graders dash around the field in mob-like clusters (sans-pitchforks, of course) on a mission to steal red or yellow strips of plastic dangling from the ball-carrier’s hips. And I’m telling ya, even from the sidelines I know the job of trying to corral those kids and actually teach them something isn’t for the faint of heart.

Our team’s coach learned that the very first week.

Now, several of us sideline/collapsable-chair quarterbacks have been down this road a time or two. We know what to expect from the kids as far as attention spans and general athletic ability goes. Keep ’em entertained, keep ’em moving, and they’ll have fun and learn a thing or two. Arrive unorganized and they’ll eat. You. Alive. Which, sadly, is more or less what happened to our coach that first week. Us parents remained on the sidelines, giving him a chance to get his feet wet, while he spent an hour herding cats coaching.

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Sure, I wanted to run out there and help. But I didn’t for two reasons: 1) I didn’t want to embarrass the guy. “Oh, look–so and so’s Mom had to help the guy, for crying out loud!”, and 2) he hadn’t asked.

Some of you might already be thinking, “Well, if it had been MY kid, I would have been on that field faster than you can say ‘boo’.” And I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing. But sometimes people don’t want your help. At least, they don’t think they do. Yet. Sometimes, you’ve got to let them come to that conclusion on their own.

Too often, it’s a pride issue. We don’t ask for help because it looks like we can’t handle a situation/task/job on our own. And that’s a load of baloney. What’s more important: doing a great job, or protecting our ego? Because that’s really what it comes down to.

Think about it. NFL coaches don’t train their teams all on their own. Neither do college coaches, high school coaches, your boss, the Mayor, the President…you see where I’m going here? There is no rule that says once you hit a certain age you’re no longer allowed to ask for help without looking weak. And anyone who worries more about their ego than the task at hand isn’t a person I would want to follow, or want my kids to have to follow, either.

Thankfully, week two of football arrived and with it an assistant coach for our team. Who, I might add, is one heck of a guy who’s taken our team by the horns. And our head coach? Well, he’s watching and learning, and looks much less stressed. But the result I love best has nothing to do with the coaches and everything to do with the kids–they’re smiling, they’re running, and they’re having a whole lot of fun. (Oh, and they’re doing some winning, too, which I’m not gonna complain about, either.)

FTSL5

So the next time you approach a new task or find yourself floundering in a familiar one, stop and think: what could you (or the people counting on you) gain from asking for help? You might just be surprised.

Have a great week, everyone. And remember: keep your ego in check, and get help when you need it. There’s no shame in asking.

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