Ever since my Mom realized that I could tape her programs for her, she now happily goes to bed at a more reasonable hour. Because of football and baseball games running overtime on prime time tv channels, her favorite shows are oftentimes delayed by thirty to sixty minutes.
The problem is, now that I’ve made her life easier, I’ve simultaneously made mine more difficult. As many times as I’ve shown her how to operate the remote (and also written out perfectly clear instructions), she still insists that I do it for her. And, because the tv’s ‘guide’ only lists shows on the hour and half-hour, these tapings usually run ‘part-way’ through two consecutive programs. That makes it even more complicated.
So, while I constantly try to find new ways to improve my parents’ quality of life, I inevitably discover even more ways to complicate mine!
What’s the difference between helping and enabling? That’s a tricky question. It’s one that I’ve been battling with myself over for some time now.
The dictionary defines ‘help’ as doing something to make it easier for someone… to aid or assist someone. ‘Enable’ is defined as making something possible or easy. But isn’t that essentially the same thing? At least in literal terms, it sounds like a positive action. So how come I constantly feel like I’m doing my parents an injustice?
Here are some examples:
1) The Mail – getting it saves my parents time and a trip down the elevator. Saving my parents a trip down the elevator keeps them from leaving their home and from having something to do to break up the day.
2) The Store – going to the pharmacy or picking up dinner saves my parents from having to do these chores themselves. Doing these chores for my parents keeps them from leaving their home, having something to do and from socializing with other people.
3) The TV – turning on the tv, taping programs and checking the guide saves my parents from ever having to learn how to operate the remote. Operating the remote myself, instead of insisting they learn how to do it themselves, keeps them reliant on me, doesn’t challenge their brains, keeps them (basically) in the Stone Age and out of touch with technology and the resources of the 21st century.
What’s the difference between HelPing and eNABling? BN HAP (being happy)!