Tag Archives: honour system

Asking and accepting help

Last week I shared with you the post in which Charli Mills acknowledged that the Carrot Ranch was in Crisis. She admitted that, although she doesn’t like to ask for help, she needed it. She explained not only the type of help she required, but also the ways in which she is able to help others. I know many of you popped over to the Carrot Ranch to read Charli’s story and lend a helping hand. I sincerely thank you for doing so.

Difficulty in asking for help is something from which many of us suffer. The reasons are probably quite complex and may differ depending on the circumstance; for example, we may not:

  • wish to inconvenience others
  • consider ourselves worthy, there are always others with greater need
  • know who or how to ask
  • wish to admit that we can’t do it on our own, that we’re not perfect, not coping, or can’t do it all.

We may:

  • fear rejection
  • or fear making our vulnerabilities obvious when we had tried so hard to obscure them.

Of course, once one asks for help, then one must be prepared to accept kindness from others. Again, this is not always easy.

Susan Bruck who blogs at To Wonder at Beauty admitted as much in her recent post Appreciating kindness — the Practice of Gratitude.

Susan says, “I used to feel that I had to do everything myself.  I never thought I was perfect, but I wanted other people to think I was.” She says that she needed to learn how to accept that making mistakes was a part of life.

In the post, Susan shares some quotes from Brené Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, including this one:

“One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on “going it alone.” Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both.”

Barbara Vitelli who blogs at Book Club Mom also confessed her reluctance to ask for help in a post entitled The Art of Asking, using the title of  Amanda Palmer’s book, which she reviews. Although the title appealed for its “self-help” potential, Barbara considers herself to have been misled as it is “mostly a memoir about Palmer’s performance and music career.” I guess this demonstrates, in part, that admitting help is required, if only to oneself, doesn’t always bring forth the assistance required. We need to know where to look and who to ask.

Barbara alerted me to a  TED talk by Palmer about the art of asking.

Palmer talks about her time as a street performer, then as a musician when she asked her fans for a place to sleep, for food, and for musicians to support her performances. She talks about making her music available for free, and explains the difference between making people pay, and asking people to pay. My son-in-law has been telling me about this concept for some time as he uses it for music he performs and purchases.

Three other organisations that do something similar by requesting financial support rather than payment by subscription are Wikipedia, The Conversation, and Brain Pickings . I’m sure there are others but these ones came immediately to mind.

Launching soon - readilearn2

As readilearn, my website of early childhood teaching resources, moves ever so slowly towards launch day, these ideas have got me thinking about my decision to go with a subscription model. My intention is that some resources will be available free to registered users, but the majority will be available through an annual subscription of $25.

I’m not about to change my mind, but I wonder how well it would work if I was to ask users to pay on an honour system, as others do. Of course I don’t have a following like Palmer’s fan base, or a readership to match Wikipedia. How useful others will consider my resources is yet unknown.

It will be impossible for me to ensure that users of my site don’t share with others or keep resources after their subscription expires. It’s just the way it is in the digital world, and with teachers. I know that. In this way I am already placing a certain amount of trust in people’s sense of fairness. I hope they consider my price fair, and that they will treat me fairly in return.

It is an interesting concept. It is often said that you only get what you pay for. If you don’t have to pay, will you? Everybody loves to get something for nothing, don’t they? It would be interesting to be able to compare two similar (small) projects, one with a set price, one with an honour system.

What do you think? Do you find it easy to ask for help, or are you in the reluctant boat? Have you ever put your hand out and asked for help? Have you used an honour system of payment, either in a project of your own, or when using the products of someone else? Do you consider, as Palmer does, that the honour system of payment is similar to asking for help?

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.