When I was in a discussion recently and was discussing the life of having two kids with T1 diabetes; it was said to me again.
“My aunt has diabetes and had her leg amputated. She died, relatively, very young.”
Normally I say to myself, “Say What?—-WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU SAY THAT?” This time I wanted to learn so I tried a different approach.
“I am not trying to be rude, but I am a writer and would like to ask you something, may I?:
“Why would you think I need to know that fact?”
Without a beat the person said, “I stated it because she never took care of herself, I hope your kids don’t do the same.”
The discussion moved on to how she did not mean to offend and I thanked her for her candor and our discussion continued in a different direction.
When people have said this to me over the years, it annoyed me, but this woman’s answer was interesting to me and here’s why.
How many times have we read people stating they are in the middle of a crisis and they seek what to do; but the answers are just as reflected of the person’s bad experiences as they are giving advice. The woman I was speaking to, had good intentions and I’m not saying that each time that line was said to me over the years was also meant the same way.
Now many will say that by sharing their experience they hope to help the person asking for help. Understood. Experience helps others if action steps are also included how the situation came to resolve and there surely is help knowing others know your pain.
When someone is going through something, especially if the situation is just beginning; if one has advice that may help that is medically sound; great. But we might also be better off only letting the person know that we have been there and know their pain and skip to helping solve the problem than sharing the specific ‘horror-story’ details until later, if ever.
If I’m having a problem with, let’s say, my child’s pump. Let’s say my child is on day one and there is a problem. It might be a better option to state, if anything, a possible solution to what I am going through and leave off the point that because of a malfunction you ended up in the hospital with your child throwing up for the next 18 hours.
I think it may be important to share your story at some point but in the middle of a crisis, I would be looking for a solution and not necessarily looking to hear a story with a different result than I am hoping. I’m sure I have shared a horror story or two that we have been through that I probably should have thought an extra second before sharing.
I get the point that sharing knowledge is important but just like the woman who meant good by telling me about her aunt, it is not necessarily something I wanted, nor needed, to hear AT THAT MOMENT.
It is the ‘AT THAT MOMENT’ where I believe, sometimes, we may want to take another second before a point is shared. By asking ourselves, ‘what does this person NEED to hear right now’, might be a great guide to help them more than anything else.
But this is my opinion, what’s yours? Please share how much information one needs to share when trying to help someone else?
I am a diabetes dad.
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