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Calling in the Jump Squad Part 2: Finding the Courage to Ask for Help

clean cleaning funny

Last week we talked about how you know it’s time to hire a tutor. Still, even when all the signs are pointing that way, it can be hard to ask for help. We know. We’re supposed to be scrappy and independent. Asking reveals our inadequacies, our shame spots. So we shove the mess into the closet and nod along when the teacher explains a concept we’re not grasping.

Yet here at Yellow Parachute, we truly believe that knowing our limits and reaching for support is one of the strongest and most courageous things we can do for ourselves and those we love. It’s why we’re here. It’s how I was able to find my purpose and build this business, and how I’m able to continue to grow and change, not despite challenges and setbacks, but because of them. It’s by embracing our brokenness and seeking support in reciprocity and we learn to live meaningful, connected, fulfilling lives.

Time and again, we hear from parents wide-eyed and relieved to see their kids settled in with a new Learning Coach—“I just wish I’d done this two years ago.” They didn’t know how much they needed the extra support until they found it.

Here are the top reasons parents say they didn’t connect earlier:

  • “I should be able to do this on my own.” Of course we feel this way. As parents, we want to be able to do it all. But do you coach your kid in soccer, hockey, dance, swimming, basketball, or baseball? If you haven’t played or don’t understand the game, you’ve probably let another coach do that. And if you do coach your own kid, you know it’s a roller coaster of a ride—a thrill, followed by the drop in your stomach, the whisper of self doubt. “Why does everyone else’s kid listen better?” you ask yourself every thirty seconds or so. We tell our kids to brush their teeth, but we still take them to the dentist—sometimes it’s best to call in a professional.
  • “I did well in school. I should be able to help my kids do well.”  Okay, you say, but I didn’t train as a dentist. I did go to school, though! Sure, you’ve “done” school, but you’ve also sat in a dentist’s chair. It’s not the same thing. And you’ve never “parented while someone else does school.” That’s an entirely different animal! Am I right? Chances are, if you did well in school, you were able to connect your talents and strengths to what the system demanded. The key for our kiddos is helping them make those connections for themselves. Maybe your ways will work, maybe they won’t. Sometimes an outsider can help you figure that out! 
  • “I’ve always known that we needed help—I didn’t know what to ask.” It’s that weight in the pit of your stomach when a child isn’t reading or remembering what he read quite the way the others did. It’s the tension you carry in your shoulders as you gear up for another science project, knowing in advance how it will unwind—how your kid will need your help to stay on track, but your support will only escalate the stress. It’s the furious whirlwind of a morning routine that you always say will get better “the next day.” You’re getting by, day to day. There’s no obvious crisis, just all the little things that add up to that constantly clenched jaw. You don’t know where change would even start. You don’t need to be in crisis to seek help. Yellow Parachute meets you where you are.
  • “I just need a little bit more time to —————.” Oh yes. Yes. This is how I felt about reorganizing my house for the past five years, since my daughter’s toddler toys took over. But before I knew it, the need I was so clearly able to articulate faded into the fog of other “should dos” and “if onlys,” leaving me feeling defeated whenever I walked into certain areas of the house. (Do you have a room like that? I will feel better if you say YES.) When I had the time, I didn’t have the energy to really dig into the process. The toys, boxes, and piles of clothes stood looming.
  • It’s expensive. We understand. Between books and music lessons and sports practices and family vacations, clothing, and shoes (why do they grow so dang fast!), you have to draw the line somewhere. We get it. Mindfully evaluating your expenses can help ensure you are spending in accordance with your values (whether or not tutoring makes the cut!). Spending money on tutoring is an investment in your child’s educational future. Plus, tutoring can save money in the long run by helping your kid tap into academic scholarship money and make the most out of college. Finally, it doesn’t have to be forever. Sometimes 6-8 weeks of tutoring focused on a particular problem area can be just the support a kid needs to get back on track.

So how do we navigate past the shoulds and the what ifs and the maybe tomorrows and ask for the help we need? Maybe it’s as simple as recognizing our limits and making that first phone call. I’m so grateful I reached out to reached out to Suzanne van Dyck of Storied Space Interiors.

Here’s what hiring professional help to reorganize my home gave me:

  1. A fresh perspective
  2. New skills and methods for taking action
  3. A plan with manageable chunks
  4. A routine to follow
  5. Permission to adjust as needed
  6. The promise of check-ins to keep me on track

These opportunities, I now realize, mirror those Yellow Parachute provides to students and families. Suzanne helped me declutter to make space for what matters.

How did it work?

First of all, and perhaps most importantly, I was open to the process. I had goals and trusted Suzanne to help me achieve them. Next, Suzanne offered both an objective, safe place to gain perspective on my growing frustration, and a manageable plan to address that frustration. She asked questions and assigned homework to further our progress. She offered both accountability and encouragement; I did my homework because I knew Suzanne would be coming to help with the next steps. She offered me a set of criteria to evaluate my process, but invited me to adjust those criteria to suit me and my family. She gave me both structured support and empowering independence. I have a renewed sense of ownership over my daily routine, and I’m comforted by the knowledge that Suzanne is a phone call away if I need her for support or a reset.

Ready to jump? Let’s do it!

-Cara

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Tuesday, 23 July 2019