Friends help Friends by providing the right tools

In the animal kingdom, when babies are born, they are fed and taken care of. Soon after, at a naturally determined time, the mother, the father or other member of the community, will teach the young how to find food, hunt, protect themselves and survive in their natural habitat.

Our environment is understandably more complicated with many more elements influencing our decisions, moving us away from the basic requirements to fulfill core needs such as eating.

As such, we no longer hunt for food, we now have to work and earn a salary, to in turn spend that money to buy the food that others have worked to prepare for us (not even hunted or picked in most cases). This is actually a simplification of the reality most of us experience.

I believe that, just as the young in the animal kingdom are taught to fend for themselves, so should we teach our children to understand the tools that allow an individual to “survive” in our society. I include such basics as learning to learn in school, learning to find a job, learning to spend responsibly, learning to take responsibility, learning to develop good relationships, learning to respect and be respected, and much more. These are, to me, tools that are similar to animals learning to hunt and to protect themselves in their environment.

I often hear of parents hovering over their children, spoon feeding them everything they need well beyond adulthood. I also hear of friends who lend a shoulder, who sympathize and cry with the person in pain, showing their support, without ever asking if there could be one push to get the person out of their misery once and for all, that tool to help the person put an end to the suffering.

So what do good Friends do?
Good Friends help you by teaching you or providing you with the tools you need to succeed in whatever aspect of your life you require the improvement.

  • My friend is unhappy in her job, I help her find the right resources online and offline to help in her search. I offer to help edit her CV and I encourage her to send out at least 5 applications a day and visit two new businesses a week.
  • My daughter is panicking in front of a 250 page book she needs to read for school within 2 weeks, I tell her to divide 250 by 10, which equals to only 25 pages to read per day (plus weekends to rest) to meet the objective, a goal that is easy to reach and that I encourage her to strive for.
  • Another friend has marital problems. I listen to her and I know how she is. She keeps everything bottled up and then she explodes to her husband and children. She has trouble communicating; instead of judging her in silence and just sympathizing with her pain, I ask her if she wants to write her feelings on paper, to let the frustrations out, possibly moving towards communicating her troubles with her spouse later on.
  • My sister complains she never has money and she asks me for help. Instead of giving her a loan I know she will never repay, I offer to sit with her and make a budget to see where she could concentrate her expense cutting efforts.

These are some sample tools to help transform the person’s life where dissatisfaction is causing blockage and pain. Friends, parents, siblings, cousins, all can help support each other by thinking of ways to provide the right tools, for long term change and benefits.

Are you a good friend to others, and are your friends good to you?  How are you helping each other on your respective paths?

One more question: are you a good friend to yourself? Do you try to find tools to help yourself… hmmm food for thought.

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