Only Child says you can’t fix everyone’s problems

Only Child and her late dad on the veranda of 139 where Only Child grew up

Every time I see or read in the news that someone has lost his or her home to fire or needs a life-saving operation that costs money, I want to help. If friends need something, I want to help.

Newsflash: I can’t fix everything in the world. Superwoman I am not and I don’t think anyone is.

This wanting to help goes back to my childhood. I remember one of my best friends injured her arm. Her older brother was chasing her around their house and when she got to the front door she shoved her arm through the glass. I sat on my veranda and looked over to their house where she was playing and could see her arm in a sling. I wanted to go over to comfort her but being shy I didn’t know how and didn’t have the nerve to do so. So I sat in the Muskoka chair and tried to will my comfort through the air across the street to my friend.

The other motivation was a fairy tale about the little match girl? Anybody remember that story by Hans Christen Anderson? Animated films about the story have been made and a version appears on You Tube

In this classic story, a little girl is selling matches in the cold on New Year’s Eve and not doing well at it. She is afraid to go home because her father will be angry if she hasn’t sold any matches. She envisions her dead grandmother who is the only familymember who treated her decently. The kicker is the little girl freezes in the cold overnight and dies.

That one will get you wanting to help others.

There’s only one problem. I can’t fix everyone’s problems; I have neither the time nor the money. When I try to, I jump all over the place and end up resenting it. So, I’m learning to focus on one area where I am good at helping others – with their writing. It’s why I continue running the East End Writers’ Group (writing critique) in the east end (where else?) of Toronto. It’s what I do in my writing, editing and writing instructing business. It’s also what I do on my author blog at

And while doing this I learn a lot from other writers – whether veteran writers or aspiring writers.

A lesson lurks in there somewhere – focus in one area to help others (and I don’t mean forget your family if they aren’t the big focus), and learn from those you help. It’s a two-way street.

Comments anyone?


Sharon A. Crawford


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Filed under Helping Others, Life learning, Little Match Girl, Only child, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford

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