And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
By the time my father-in-law reached his late 80s, he was in very poor health. Against the advice of his children and other caregivers, he insisted on continuing to live in his own house with his wife, who was also in poor health; he repeatedly dismissed everyone’s concerns that an emergency might arise when none of the family were nearby to help him.
One morning, he was feeling very weak and wanted to go to the emergency room. But as he began to call around, he couldn’t find anyone capable of helping him. Finally, he called one granddaughter, a slender young schoolteacher who worked near his house. The office got her out of class and he told her his situation. Her reply was, “Papa, you know I would do anything to help you, but there’s no way in the world that I can take you to the emergency room. I simply can’t lift you into the car.”
Everyone was very critical of Papa for even asking. The common reaction was, “Why did he interrupt her class? There was nothing she could do.”
It’s easy to chalk up his actions to age, since the very elderly don’t always think clearly. But before we become too critical of Papa, let’s do a little self-examination. The last time you sought financial advice, who did you ask? Your neighbor? Your spouse? A coworker? How about the last time you had a relationship problem? Who did you ask for guidance? A friend? A sports partner? A drinking buddy?
You see, we all have this habit; we ask for help from those who are easiest to ask instead of the most qualified. We ask certain people because we feel comfortable asking them. The “price” is not too high. The price might be in baring our soul and revealing some weakness, or it might be an actual cash payment. But most of us are guilty of asking for help where the price won’t be too high rather than asking for help that will solve the problem.
It’s easy to see that Papa was wrong. But he serves as a great example of what we all do. The next time you have a problem you need help solving, take the time to consider the question, “Am I asking someone who can actually help me? Are they truly qualified to help me solve the problem? If not, are they in a position to guide me to someone who can?”
Don’t follow the advice of someone who isn’t qualified. Learn to seek answers from those who can actually help and guide you.
All things are filled full of signs, and it is a wise man who can learn about one thing from another.
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Copyright © 2014 John Chancellor