Exchange “No, thank you” for “Yes, thank you”


Belhaven, NC, September 20, 2003 — Ron Medlin,left, lives at 275 Riverview St. and Nelson Guy, right, lives at 690 E. Main St. The neighbors are helping each other clean up after Hurricane Isabel. Medlin’s house was elevated after Hurricane Floyd using Federal mitigation funds and received no damage from Isabel. Guy’s home was not elevated and did have flood damage from Isabel. Photo By Dennis Wheeler/FEMA News Photo

Many of us have such an independent spirit that when others ask if we need something or if they can help out in a difficult situation, we are inclined to say, “no, thank you.” When we do that, we often miss out on the opportunity to make our lives easier – and sometimes save ourselves time and money. And…we also deny our friends the service they actually wanted to do. We need to remember that, just like we are when we offer help to someone else, they would not offer if they didn’t want to help.

In times of illness or death in the family, the valid offers can be extremely helpful. Some may volunteer to bring a meal, pick up children at school, mow the lawn, etc.

For instance, during a family illness, a friend regularly called to see if she could pick up something at the grocery store for me. I seldom took her up on it, but when I did, it was a great help.

Years ago when a friend of mine was sick and homebound, I showed up at her house, did some housework and some ironing. Years later, she remembered that act with gratitude. I love her and although I had to be persistent in order for her to let me help, I was glad she allowed me to do it. It made ME feel better.


Cameron, LA, January 11, 2006 – A resident in Cameron Parish offers their front yard as a distribution point for other local victims of Hurricane Rita to take donated items as needed. FEMA recognizes and appreciates neighbors helping neighbors as a vital part of the recovery process after a disaster. Robert Kaufmann/FEMA

Neighbors can often bring by goodies or bounty from their garden. I have certainly been blessed with such and some of the vegetables lasted through several meals.

Friends have given us venison or fish from their freezers. We have thoroughly enjoyed the dinners made from these gifts.

I have a neighbor who is always looking for a way to do something kind. The gifts and thoughtfulness not only save me time and money, but make me know she cares.

I make homemade bread and sometimes share with my neighbors as well.

In other generations, especially during the Depression, the only way most people were able to make it was through the help of others. You don’t need to be poor or homeless to benefit from the generosity of others. We should look for ways to help others and accept help from them. We need each other.

Sometimes we need to stop before we say, “no, thank you,” and graciously accept someone’s offer of kindness. The contributions can be far more than monetary.



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