(Issue #565) Offering A Hand Or An Opinion?

At that moment they might not need to know how much I know
but, rather, how much I care.

The conclusion of a recent letter to the editor in the local paper caught my attention: “So I ask, if you see a person in need, do you offer a hand or an opinion?”

When someone or some group reaches out for assistance, how do we respond? With compassion and non-judgment. Or do we have to opine about what is wrong with that person or group—especially if our background and experiences do not match what they have encountered? We can become tribe-centric.

Maybe the person in need does, in fact, require some readjustment and realignment. Perhaps they need an ear to listen. Or an empathetic being to help him or her navigate the rocky shoals.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli ©2019

During my classroom teaching years I recall many knocks on my office door by students in need. Sometimes they had academic questions; often they confronted crippling personal dilemmas. And many times those issues were beyond what I had experienced in my life. Like the young women who shared they had been abused by a significant other. My duty in those moments was to get them connected with a counselor who could help—a person trained in such situations.  It was not the time or place to share my opinions about how to pick a partner.  That was not the need for the person in front of me.

Less dramatic or trauma-inducing, think of the friend who shares ideas she wants to share on her next office Zoom meeting. You hear something that might present a problem for her. Maybe it is the manner in which she is presenting or the order of her presentation or the depth or …. Do you offer your opinion about what she is doing wrong or do you offer a hand by sharing some authentic observations? Feedback that she can use—or not—to tweak her delivery.

It might help to ask ourselves, “What does this person need right now? My opinion or my hand? A talking head or someone to lean on?”

I thank the letter writer (above) for reminding me that it’s not about me, it’s about the person in front of me. At that moment they might not need to know how much I know but, rather, how much I care.



Video recommendation for the Week:

Bill Withers and “Lean on Me.”    




Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.
Click here for more information about the book.

In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019)(print and e-book) is available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017). One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

The Growth and Resilience Network®.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

About stevepiscitelli

Facilitator-Author-Teacher
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