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Why is it so hard to ask for that little bit of help when we need it?

March 31, 2021 by Kristy

Have you ever been in a situation where you are so close to accomplishing something but for whatever reason you just can’t give the teeny amount left to give?  I have been in this situation so many times over my life.  I have learned to accept it.  However, it is so different watching your kids with this struggle and not reaching in to help them. 

A couple of days ago was the end of the 3rd term.  This is 2021 and to say that school has been an easy thing over the last year, is a big lie.  My kids have been so adaptable.  At this time last year, in person school was cancelled and they were doing virtual learning.  When school was supposed to restart in the fall, they ended up doing three days a week of virtual learning and two days a week of in person learning.  At the beginning of the second term the school district decided to do in person school 4 days a week and left Fridays for kids that need additional assistance and as a day that teachers can try to accommodate those children whose families are impacted by Covid-19. 

I have seen both of my children struggle and try to improvise.  It has been an uphill battle to say at the very least.  My kids schooling “counts” right now.  Bryken is in 9th grade and Gwen is in 10th grade.  Whatever their grades are they go on transcripts and it will follow them or haunt them to college.  Or at least that is the mentality that the school counselors are trying to instill in my kids.

My Gwen has done pretty well.  She tries so hard and she has actually been recommended for an IB Program at her high school by a few of her teachers.  It is shocking to her, but it is not surprising to me at all.  I have always known how capable she is.  She has been trying to figure that out but, it is like she just doesn’t believe it.  I have watched her redo assignments and tests just so she can feel like she has done her very best.  She has a personality that demands perfection from herself.  It is quite exhausting just watching her run circles around deciding what is her best.

Bryken, is a really smart kid.  School is pretty easy for him.  He does not try nearly as much as Gwen does.  He is okay if thinks he does an assignment, “Good Enough”.  He does not stress over assignments or tests.  He does most things well, or at least well enough for him to be satisfied and me not be on his back too much.

The first week of third term, as a family we decided to take a Disneyworld trip.  The kids missed a whole week of school.  When we came back home, Gwen was beyond stressed.  Even to the point that she said she wished she would not have gone on the Disney trip because it just put her so far behind.  She spent 2 or 3 weeks catching up on all of her missing assignments.  Bryken went back to school, he didn’t spend anytime catching up.  He felt like there was nothing really to catch back up on. 

After midterm grades were finalized, Bryken realized he missed an assignment in one of his classes, when we were in Disneyworld.  The teacher told him it was too late to turn that assignment in – because seriously it was past a month late.  He took a zero on the assignment and up until a few minutes ago he had a D- in the class.  The teacher emailed that he had updated all of the scores on the remaining assignments and that the grades were final.  Bryken pulled up his grades and he had 79.25% in this class.  Bryken has had this particular teacher for 3 years now.  The teacher knows him and knows that he has always turned in all of his assignments.  I told Bryken to just email the teacher and see if there was anything, he could do to earn the .75% he needed to get a B-, instead of a C+.

Bryken, emailed the teacher, he explained that he really messed up by taking a zero on the assignment from when he was in Disneyworld, and asked if there was anything he could do to make up the .75% to get to a B-.  The teacher told him he would look over all his assignments and see if there was anything he could do, but he probably couldn’t do anything.  A few hours later we looked at Bryken’s grades and it showed he had a B- in that class.  So Bryken asking for help, increased his grade.  I believe the teacher knows Bryken’s character and was willing to give a little bit of Grace.  This however, only happened because Bryken asked.  Had he not asked, the teacher would not have been able to help him that teeny little bit.

In comparison, Gwen is sitting with a 93.43% in her English class.  She refuses to ask the teacher what she can do to get the extra .57% she needs to go from an A- to an A.  I am tempted to be that Mom that emails the teacher, but I am not going to do it.  And neither is Gwen.  So, she will get an A-, and be depressed about it for the rest of her life.  Sounds like an appropriate punishment, right? 

I was talking to my very good friend about this situation.  She point-blank asked me if I would have asked for the English teacher to review my grade if I was Gwen.  I answered back that when I was a student, I would never have dared to question the teacher.  Then I asked my friend what she would do.  She answered, “I would like to be the kind of person who would speak up when I need something.  But I am still working on it”.

So, my question today- is, Why is it so hard for some of us (I am assuming mostly women) to ask for that little bit of help when we need it?

I am going to get religious and tie this into Easter, so bear with me for a minute.  Isn’t it amazing that Grace has been given so freely by the Savior?  Isn’t it amazing that I can do most of the work but not all of it, and I still succeed because Jesus makes up the difference for me?  Isn’t it reassuring to know that as long as I do my part in believing and having faith and actually trying – that is enough?  I am so grateful this Easter Week for the Savior and for the Grace that he so freely gives to me.  Even if I am not brave enough to ask for a little bit of help, he already knew that I would need it and he already outstretched his hand to freely give it to me!