Be the giant on whose shoulders someone stands.
August 10, 2012 by
Categories: Human, Relationships

Recently I read a blog post, The Secret Behind a Great Person which told the story of Theo van Gogh. History has placed Theo in the shadows of his older brother, Vincent van Gogh. It seems that without Theo, Vincent would not have been able to produce his works of art. Theo supported Vincent financially as well as emotionally.  Donald Latumahina writes, “There is an important lesson here: never underestimate the value of a supporter. No matter how strong you think you are, you need a supporter who believes in you.” He closes by writing that it is important to recognize your supporters and just as important as being a supporter yourself.

Image by Ayla87

One thing that I have tried to do throughout my life is to support others. There are times I am better at it than others, but it is something that I strive for. The interesting thing is, those that I support, offer me support in return. Support can be a collaborative process if we let it, and if the other person is willing. Regardless of the other person, however, being a supporter ourself is important to do.

Here are a few guidelines I have learned about supporting that I think are important and try to stick to:

1. Never, ever, ever, tell someone their dream is unattainable. Even if we are certain that it is, don’t. First of, crushing someone’s dream is just not nice. Second, while their dream may not be attainable, why should that stop them from working toward it? I love to run. I want to be a good runner. I know that I won’t be an olympic runner. I know that I’m not going to make any money on endorsements. That doesn’t stop me from training and working hard. And it certainly doesn’t stop the support and encouragement I get from friends and family. No one’s dream deserves to die. If you are going to be a supporter, help them work toward it. I love the Man of La Mancha:

This is my quest, to follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far;
To fight for the right, without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause.

2. It is important to recognize that at times everyone is going to feel down, hopeless, as though what they are doing is too difficult. I think it is important to recognize this at the outset. I think that it is important at these times to just be with the person you are supporting. There is a time for encouragement, but there is also a time to just be with the person in their dark moments. It’s tricky to determine when is the appropriate time to just be and when it is time to encourage. Generally, I try to err on the side of just being with them.

3. While it’s important to never crush another’s dream, it’s equally as important to ensure that the steps needed to work toward the dream are attainable. For example, if someone has the dream of becoming an investor on Wall Street, jumping in to E*Trade may not be the best idea without first taking classes and understanding basic principles of finance.

4. Sometimes dreams change. In children and adolescents, this is a given as they are exploring who they are and what they are interested in. But even for adults, this happens. If it happens to someone you are supporting, don’t take it personally and try not to be frustrated with the person. It was not a waste of time. Chances are something you taught them is a principle that applies to any dream they have, not just the one they were working toward with you.

Supporting someone is important. So be a mentor. Se a supporter.

What are your thoughts and guidelines about supporting someone else? Pleas share!


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2 Thoughts About Be the giant on whose shoulders someone stands.

  • August 10, 2012 at 9:36 am Reply

    Reblogged & shared on FB! “Shoulders” to stand on are exactly what we aim to bring to youth – to give them a foundation of confidence & support.

  • Trent August 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing and reblogging. Youth in particular need the foundation of confidence and support. I’ve seen too many youth who have had their dreams shattered. It really shakes up their confidence in things.

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