Saying Goodbye to the Little Red Hen

I am reluctant to admit that one of my very favorite stories as a child was the tale of The Little Red Hen. Many times over the years I remembered two of the lines repeated throughout the tale — “Then I’ll do it myself“, said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

And so did I! Like so many women I know, I needed to prove that I could handle everything that came my way, rarely asking for help. It was decades until I realized that I had confused an important message in the story of The Little Red Hen. My takeaway from all those years ago had been that this industrious and independent hen did it all, and in the end enjoyed the benefit of her hard work. Oh, how did I miss or forget the very important point that the strong, self-sufficient Little Red Hen actually did ask for help? She asked repeatedly. How unfortunate that she found herself surrounded by those who were unwilling to assist in any way. Thankfully, most of us know many people who truly would be happy to help us if we would just ask.

Why, then, do we hesitate to ask for help? We all have our own reasons, some based on experiences from long ago, and some simply a part of who we are. I have discovered that asking for help is much easier than I once believed, and I now do it often. If you believe in some power, spirit, energy or force outside yourself, this is a good place to start. I have also found that family, friends, and colleagues are frequently very happy to be asked for help and happier still to provide it. And let’s not forget that there are people and organizations that offer specialized services if the help we need is beyond the help that those we know and love can provide.

I suggest that you take a few moments in the next day or two and ask yourself, “What are the biggest challenges I face at this point in my life?” Write down (or type) all of your thoughts on this question as they come to mind, trying not to filter any thought before you capture it. Then, for each of the challenges you have listed, ask yourself, “Who can help me with this?” Without hesitation, jot down all of the names that come to mind, not worrying now about actually having to ask those people for their help. A day or so later, go back to your notes and decide if you are ready to begin asking for help in dealing with the challenges you have listed. When you are ready, start making these requests. I know from experience that you will be delighted with the results. One of my happiest days was when I finally said goodbye to my misunderstood role model, the Little Red Hen.

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10 Responses to Saying Goodbye to the Little Red Hen

  1. Teena May 20, 2012 at 7:29 am #

    Sharon, I look forward to seeing you today and spending some time with myself!! I so loved your take on this story, I’ve read this entry many times now. I too love the story of the little red hen but my takeaway was all messed up too! I always thought if anything had to be done right, I had to do it myself. I think that’s the message I’ve been giving my kids also! Especially with Maya, who’s 7 now, with all my fears and anxieties, I think I need to be careful about portraying the world in a more gentle way. See you soon. Thanks again for the wonderful message. I love the way you end your messages with a hug. I always feel it!

    • sharon May 20, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      Teena, thanks so very much for your thoughts about our friend, the Little Red Hen. I believe that your openness and candor in these comments help all of us because you encourage us to share our experiences without filtering. I love that! It takes courage to do this, and when we share our vulnerabilities it encourages others to do the same. You are helping us all on our path of self-discovery and self-love.

      I am truly excited that I will get to see you at today’s Women’s Circle. Sending a very big hug until I can hug you in person!

      • RAMONA June 23, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

        THANK YOU.
        I THINK PEOPLE GET THEIR FEELINGS HURT
        BECAUSE WHEN WE ASK GOR HELP,
        PEOPLE JUDGE US.
        THEN, THEY DO WHAT THEY THINK IS
        BEST .
        NOT THE HELP WE ASK FOR . . .
        PEOPLE ALWAYS THINK THEY KNOW THE PERSON IS SHOWING WEAKNESS .
        I BELIEVE WE SUPPOSE TO HELP EACH OTHER.

        • sharon June 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

          Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us, Ramona. I wholeheartedly agree that we meant to help each other and I hope that you can feel my hug across the miles.

          oxoxo

          Sharon

  2. Patty May 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    You must have known to send this to me. I have been through so much in the past few years and couldn’t have done it without friends and family and God. My divorce is final next month, just sold my house and will be moving in July. I almost called you to ask for help with a certain matter and didn’t want to bother you. Lol. Life sure is funny. We are so much stronger than we think we are. I did just take one day at a time said a lot of prayers and things are looking up. Finally. I thank god everyday for all the blessings in my life especially my grandkids. They r the joy of my life. God seems to give us exactly what we need when we need it. I’m sure of that now.
    Thanks for sharing your blog. I will be glad to share and help. God knows I’ve been through many experiences and can offer support.

    • sharon May 19, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Thank you very, very much for courageously sharing your experience, Patty. I am certain that your advice about taking one day at a time and about the power of prayer will help many other women. You are strong and an inspiration to all of us.

      Sending much love and an e-hug.

  3. Ashley May 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I, too, love this book. and read it often to the boys. I always get frustrated when the other animals don’t help the hen. 🙂
    But, I am so much like the hen, and just do things myself.
    While I’m trying to ask for help more and more, I find it difficult to figure out how people can help – even when people offer to help. One step at a time, I guess.
    Thanks, Sharon, for the inspiration!

    • sharon May 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

      You are wise to note that we all make progress “one step at at time,” Ashley. We can all learn together, encouraging each other along the way. Thanks very much for your comments and for your candor. I admire that! Please continue to share your thoughts with us. Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. Nancy W May 11, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Sharon,

    Thank you for sharing!!! Have a great day!!!

    • sharon May 12, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Thank you, Nancy. And as Mother’s Day is tomorrow, I send an extra hug!