“From the time that the mother binds the child’s head till the moment that some kind assistant wipes the damp from the brow of the dying, we cannot exist without mutual aid.
All, therefore, that need aid have a right to ask it from their fellow-mortals. None who have the power of granting aid can refuse it without guilt.”
I like this thought; it made me stop and ponder its truth. I was raised to be self-reliant, and I think it is a good thing if not taken too far. This quote made me consider that there may be times we don’t think we need others, we can make it on our own, or we won’t accept charity, but the times are coming in life, when if not for others, we would doubtless suffer greatly. There are occasions in the nursing home when a new resident is admitted and they resent being dependent, and are very difficult and belligerent, but in the last years of one’s life, we will become increasingly dependent whether we like it or not. When these prideful people come and refuse to cooperate with the staff, they are simply put on medications that make them more compliant. It is sad to see but if one needs help and refuses it to their hurt, what choice is there? In the end when we are in the throws of dying, we will cry out for someone to help us, and in our culture there will be someone there to “damp the brow” and help ease us into death. Thank God for caring nurses, family and volunteers. On the flip side, bringing a child into the world leaves us equally dependent; and once again we have need of care givers.
All through life we need some degree of assistance, as nurse, teacher, doctor, or just the social needs we are designed with. So his point of being eager to help others struck me in a deeper and fuller way. When rearing children and one of them suffered a serious accident, I will always remember the gratitude I felt when my child was finally in the care of a doctor.
Samuel Smiles - photo by Richard Baillie