THE VALUE OF HELPING
Everybody wants to be helped but it seems that nowadays, help is oftentimes seen and only appreciated if expressed in material form. Before, when one extended help, it plainly meant that assistance was conducted through advice, counseling, sympathetic alliance, anything social and psychological. Now, those are only motions least valued and understood. Help must be something substantial, significantly physical and pertinent to what is expected. Less than that, there is nothing that spells help in today’s jargon.
Worst, one who helps others are already compelled to extend it all through out. He is expected to lengthen and broaden his act and make it a continuing effort even if the person merely wanted to take a small step towards the path of amelioration. He is bound therefore and would find himself in a fix. His earlier expression of helping would not find any admirable quality save for a specific recognition which at times may be interpreted as incidental if not egotistical.
I was once driving my car in South Luzon expressway where from a distance I saw someone splayed on the shoulder of the road grimacing in pain. I stopped and slowly assisted the fellow into my vehicle to extend succor. I brought him to the nearest hospital and there I got snagged. I was not allowed to leave because for doing the good, I became a suspect. The police arrived and I was investigated whether it was my vehicle which side swept the old man. I have to postpone my appointment, which was to be a lecturer that day, if only to await a series of inquiries on the cause of the injuries sustained of the victim. Luckily, the patient survived to give his testimony. Had the fellow died, I would have been detained already.
That was just for starters. I work in prison and I have numerous occasions to help released prisoners. Since government has no post release considerations, I tried, meager though my resources are, to pinch in. I would fork out a few bucks remaining in my allowance and extend it to the newly discharged inmate. That however will stop from there. Several instances a number of these freed persons would still hang around seeking additional and continuous assistance from me. I have to express that I could only offer so much and it is usually once only. I could see the facial expression of frustration as they move on, not even a simple glance to show gratitude from the initial assistance given. I could even read the way they walk as if saying that I am greedy and selfish.
As a prison officer concerned with the rehabilitation of prisoners, I tried to organize a college degree program for inmates. As a consequence, I was summarily investigated and almost dismissed from the service. Accordingly, initiative is a crime in government service. My job was to follow what was traditionally defined for employees nothing more. I persevered. Arguing that educational program in the prison community is the bedrock of rehabilitation. I was vindicated lately but through out my career I found myself always on a floating status. Initiating help is not that organizationally healthy for one’s career to start with.
There are several historical precedents that I could think of. There was Lord Jesus who merely wanted to help and save mankind through spiritual work only to be crucified. There was Jose Rizal who wished to help the Spanish government improve the lot of his countrymen only to be executed for rebellion. There was Ninoy Aquino who expressed willingness to collaborate for the restoration of democracy only to be assassinated. Big help but with fatal consequence.
I still believe in helping although its value has eroded already.
(On hindsight, I would not have attained some kind of stability and maturity without being helped also. My family, friends and books made it so.)