Children Knowing How to Ask for Help

Aristocrat has been around for a long time. It was there during the Second World War. I knew because on the 50th anniversary of the return of Gen. Douglas MacArthur several years ago, or has it been a more than 10 years ago? Anyway, I read from the newspapers that some American war veterans who were among those who landed in Leyte with Gen. MacArthur were saddened that they could not eat at Aristocrat, because the workers of Aristocrat were on strike.

When Aristocrat opened a branch on Banawe in Quezon City, we were elated. For the past few years, the only time we get to eat their Chicken Barbecue was when I was coming home from an overseas trip. My wife would call up Aristocrat in Roxas Boulevard as soon as I inform her I am at the airport. On the way home, I would drop by Aristocrat to pick up our order. It was a convenient arrangement, calling ahead, otherwise, I had to wait a long time for food to be prepared if I order on the spot. The last thing I wanted was to wait since I always in Manila late at night.

The other day, we had Aristocrat Chicken Barbecue for dinner. More than the chicken, which they love, my children love the Java Rice even more. It was then decided that they would have Chicken Barbecue with Java Rice for lunch in school the following day.

The children bring their food with them every school day. The food are kept warn inside Tiger brand thermos. You know, if you want to keep your food warm, go for Tiger branded ones – they are really good.

My wife, though, had reservations. It was the first time the children were bringing Java Rice to school, and she wasn’t so sure if the rice would not spoil. As an exercise, we decided to use this opportunity to train the children on how to ask for help.

I had previously explained, as I did this morning, that asking for help is not the same as knowing how to ask for help. There is a big difference between the two, I continued. Asking for help is one thing, but knowing how is another thing. I further added, they should also know when to ask for help. The last part, I did not talk to the children about that. I did, this morning. More on that in a bit, allow me to continue.



So yesterday, while on the way to school, my wife and I kept drumming into the heads of the kids to ask for help from the teachers, to check the Java Rice, before eating. Our instruction was simple. Once they arrive in school and see their teacher, they should tell the teacher to help them check their food later during lunchtime, and during lunchtime, they should ask a teacher or lunch supervisor to check for them.

We explained that telling the teacher before classes begin adds a layer of security, in the sense that if they forget to ask because they were so hungry and the only thing they could think of was to eat, their teacher might remember. I also took the opportunity to explain and emphasize that even so, the teacher might be too busy, so it really is their responsibility to ask.

In the afternoon, when we fetched the kids, Renzo told us he didn’t ask the teachers for help. Rinaldo did.

Renzo explained that he checked his food himself and thought the Java Rice was okay to eat, so he didn’t need to ask for help. Now, before we all start clapping, the truth was, he was too shy to ask.

So here now is the point of this post today.

Renzo needs to learn how to ask for help. There are many times when he would hesitate to ask, or to clarify something he didn’t understand, such as instructions for a classroom activity. Instead of asking, he would sit and not do a thing.

We explained to him that if there is something he does not understand, he could always raise his hand and ask. Outside the classroom, there are school staffs everywhere. Each one is more than willing to help a child. All he needs to do is ask.

Yesterday, he failed his exercise. He didn’t ask. We talked to him about the value of asking for help, once again. He promised he would, next time.

This morning, on the way to school this morning, I talked to the two boys. Once again, we talked about asking for help. I now explained to them the difference between asking, and knowing how to, by using this example.

Let’s say you are going to carry you bag from the ground floor to the second floor, and it is very heavy. You ask yourself this question. Can I do this? If you can, even if it will take a long time, do it. If you are asked to move a car from one spot to another, that would be impossible, then by all means, ask someone to help you with proper manners.

So asking for help cannot be done in a commanding tone. Children shouldn’t ask for help, all the time. What I am trying to impart on the kids is the value of knowing when, besides how.

Somehow, I feel that many children today should learn this skill. As was the case with Renzo, if he knew and could ask for help, there are many classroom activities he could have completed faster. This skill is also important outside the classroom. Outside, in the real world, for example, in a mall, children should know whom to approach for help in case they get lost.

Come to think of it. Many of us, parents already, when we are going somewhere and get confused with directions, hesitate to ask for directions, choosing to drive hoping our destination somehow magically appears. If we did, it would have saved time.

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