Do I really have to ask for help around the house?

I mean, I can spot a dozen things that need to be done in the living room alone while members of my family lounge around watching television or playing games on the computer. While I’m certainly not a martyr who carries the load alone, I don’t want to be a nagging wife and mother … or worse come across as a primadonna who demands everyone else do the real work.

The reality is that I’m a working mother with more on my to-do list than hours in the day or creativity in the tank. And there are days I wish others would pick up pieces of the load without my having to ask.

This week’s character quality is initiative. Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it. It’s the ability to act and make decisions without the help or advice of other people. It’s the ability to begin … and follow through on a plan or task. Initiative is the opposite of idleness.

I’ll admit that my first thoughts about initiative were not pleasant vibes toward family members, especially after surviving a hectic week. Then I remembered that every pointing finger leaves several others aimed back at me and took a closer look at myself.

When I’m at home, I can easily spot everything that needs to me done. (That’s why I often take my computer to the library so I can write without distractions or guilt.) But when I’m in different settings outside of my responsibility, comfort zone, familiarity, or expertise, I find it harder to recognize what needs to be done.

Or I sometimes feel uncomfortable jumping in to help because I don’t want to do things the wrong way. After all, what if my “help” isn’t helpful and the one I’m trying to help has to do it all over again? Or what if there’s a task that needs doing more urgently than the one I picked to do?

Perhaps the solution lies in a few simple words. If I can’t figure out what needs to be done, I should simply ask “How may I help you?” … and then do it.

If only I could train my family to do the same.

What about you? With a quick glance around, how many things can you spot that need to be done? Is there one of them that you can do right now? Do you find it difficult to ask for help? Why or why not?

Character Matters – Initiative
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