One of my all-time favorite books is The Art of Helping: What to Say and Do When Someone is Hurting by Lauren Littauer Briggs. In fact, I am very honored to have a section in it for those with chronic illness. But the whole book is helpful for those of us who, well, care. And it is one of the few books I believe should be on the desk of every pastor and church secretary! So much so that when it was first published we offered it as part of our HopeKeepers Start Up Kit! And I wrote a review for the book on Amazon in 2006 (see it under Lisa Copen “RestMinistries”)
I am so excited to see that the author, Lauren, is doing a blog tour to share about this book again, as it it never out of date! The Art of Helping—What to Say and Do When Someone is Hurting addresses 30 of the most common heartaches people face and takes away your fear of involvement by helping you understand what people are feeling and going through. From over 100 interviews and her own life experiences, Author Lauren Briggs shares proven advice and offers practical help with a list of what to say— and do. There is even a section on how to comfort people who have suffered the loss of a pet.
Lauren gave us a few minutes of her time to explain why she believes this book is one that is practical in the hands of many.
Why should I read The Art of Helping?
Do you know someone who is facing a crisis and wondered what you could do to help? Have you ever faced a difficult time and wished your family and friends knew what you were going through and knew how to help you?
I found that during my darkest hours, no one knew how much I was hurting, what I was going through or how they might help.
This is a book you’ll want to read before you need it—so that you will have ideas of what you can do and how you can respond—when you first hear the news. We want to help our family and friends through the hard times, but the right words or actions just don’t come to mind. The Art of Helping will give you the tools and enable you to turn thoughts into action.
If I was to ask you, “How will The Art of Helping change me?” what would you say?
The Art of Helping is your go to book when life gets tough. It is a social Bible filled with concrete, tangible action items to empower you to make a difference at times when we would otherwise feel helpless. When people get this book in their hands, they always say, “How I wish I had this book when my friend needed help.”
Yes, I think all of us who are chronically ill have often wished that people had a better idea of how to reach out to us. Sometimes when we live with illness, we think of everything in terms of that as our definition of suffering. But there are so many kinds of suffering in life! I wonder if you could share with us some of the basic Do’s and Don’ts that could be helpful for anyone–not just those with a chronic condition?
Sure! Here are some of my best tips!
DON’T wait before you make contact.
DO Respond as soon as you hear the news.
DON’T SAY “If there’s anything you need, give me a call.”
DO Offer a specific thing you can do.
DON’T put pressure on yourself to do something you don’t like to do.
DO use your gifts and talents to help.
DON’T minimize what they are going through.
DO offer caring statements of acknowledgement.
DON’T ASK “When will you be your old self again? or Aren’t you over it yet?”
DO understand that once their life is touched by tragedy, they will never be their “old self” again. They will eventually reach a “new normal” but life will never be the same.
Wonderful! Yes, I think those apply to anyone going through a difficult time. You have so many specific examples in the book. That is one of my favorite parts because it really personalizes it. Can you share with us some of your favorite creative suggestions in The Art of Helping?
Yes, here are some of my favorites!
- A mother of two young children picked up a hurting family’s laundry on Mondays, took it home and returned it all laundered and folded on Thursdays.
- A man volunteered to come mow the lawn once a week and do some simple “honey do” chores.
- My sons brought their game boy to the hospital for a friend going through chemo therapy. Every few days they would bring a different game to swap.
Those all sound wonderful. I know sometimes it’s the little things that make a huge difference for those of us who are hurting–both physically or emotionally. I am so glad to see that after a few years this book is still reaching so many people. It truly it timeless, Lauren. Can you tell our readers how they can I learn more about The Art of Helping?
The Art of Helping is reshaping the way people reach out to others. You can find more information at my website: www.laurenbriggs.com. You can also follow me on Facebook as and on Twitter as @Laurenbrgs. The Art of Helping is available both as an ebook and hard copy through Amazon.com. See the Kindle version here. If you would like an autographed copy of The Art of Helping, email me.
Thank you, Lauren! Readers! Lauren has graciously donated a copy of her book to one of you! Please take a moment to share a way that either (1) you encouraged someone who was hurting; (2) someone encouraged you when you were hurting; (3) a creative way you would like to encourage someone who is hurting.
We will pick the one that is most CREATIVE. . . so think hard! Post your comment below in the comments section and if you are chosen we will email you to get your postal address and Lauren will send the book right out!
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is the author of Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend, another great book to add to your “encouragement book shelf!” She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.