How often do we look through our middle-class lens bringing our middle-class values developed from our middle-class upbringing and ask others to do something we think is fairly simple to do? Maybe not for a 10-year-old; as parents we try to equip our children to navigate the world around them. We teach them what we’ve learned, we are patient with them (sometimes), encouraging them to “watch me first, then you try”. Hoping we aren’t being the helicopter parent that swoops in to save the day, we want our children to grow up to be grown-ups, able to conquer the basic things in life, plus a lot more. Helicopter complex is real, and a short-term solution. No one learns from others doing things for them, and it’s difficult to learn without having healthy instruction. But what if there are people living in our communities that maybe haven’t had conquering the world modeled for them? What if there are people who haven’t had the patient instruction from well-equipped parents passing on the plethora of knowledge and wisdom gained from their own parents and healthy experiences? What if there are other underlying factors that we just can’t see, and certainly don’t understand?

We had a client walk in that was really struggling with his mental health. He was on his knees in The Well Resource Center waiting area sobbing as he was not able to navigate what a local mental health provider was wanting him to do to get an appointment with a psych doctor. He commented that they might as well have been asking him to fly a rocket to the moon because he could not figure out what they were wanting him to do. We were able to advocate for him and to help him make calls to find a different mental health provider that could see him in a couple of days. We have known this individual for a few years and are also helping him process things as he navigates a difficult divorce and substance abuse issues.

Let’s ask:

  1. How is The Well Resource Center walking alongside this person?
  2. What conclusions can you draw about this person? Is it difficult to draw conclusions with so little information?
  3. What assumptions did a local provider make in giving him instruction?
  4. What assumptions do we make when asking others to do something we think is simple?
  5. If you were in this situation helping someone, and your goal is to not be a helicopter, how could you handle this situation?