“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

Courage to Ask One Question

January 4, 2008

Have you ever needed to ask a question in an uncomfortable situation, but stuffed your question deep inside? I remember the trepidation I felt when it seemed everyone else but me understood the teacher’s directions or lectures.

In a recent event, a young man stood in the doorway of my office. “May I help you?” I asked. Without hesitation, he responded, “Do you have a literacy training program here?” He stood alone in the doorway.

“Let me make a call for you,” I responded. While dialing the number, I noticed how he carefully observed the certificates, plants, and photographs which filled my office, tangible proof of my academic accomplishments and friendships.

“You are the only one here who stopped to help me; the others just told me ‘No,’ and returned to their work,” he remarked. I told him it was not a big deal because it would only take a few minutes to get an answer.

“No,” the young man continued. “I have walked all around this area and you are the only one who listened and stopped to help me.” I was saddened to hear that others had answered only a portion of his question.

I remembered my own challenge with reading comprehension, which had been extremely difficult for me. Too embarrassed to admit my deficiency, I worked tenaciously to hide my secret. Overcome by fear, my courage melted more often than I prefer to recall.

Standing alone, this fellow had the courage to ask one single question, a question to admit he needed help in what I believe must have been quite challenging for him.

I wonder if a friend or family member had encouraged him to ask for help. Perhaps the real answer is as simple as the quotation from Dr. Seuss’ book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” “You have brains in your head; you have feet in your shoes; you can steer yourself; any direction you choose.”

Do you have the same courage this young man possessed to ask for help, especially when it is elusive?

Angela Scott

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