Personal beliefs provide the Foundation and the Fuel for Helping- the Why and the How.
Helping is universal language that flows out of values and moral beliefs. The very word “believe” means more than to just give mental assent to a notion- it means to act on that which is believed.
My personal beliefs have definitely been the foundation from which I have sprang into my professional and volunteer helping roles. I believe life is sacred and has inherent value granted by God. So I have spent my professional life helping preserve life and improve the quality of life for children and families ravaged by abuse, mental illness, and constant crises. I work on a voluntary basis to help see that unborn life and mothers have common-sense protections and options. For those that decry people that care more for unborn babies than children in difficult living situations- they aren’t talking about me. My belief that God has a preference for life hopefully has influenced everything I’ve done and definitely has brought me into the helping work I have done and continue to do.
One of the biggest contributions that a helper’s values, morals, and beliefs have on helping others is the way they sustain the helper. Your values create the anchor that holds you firmly in place while others drift. Dr. Janet Furness, one of my professors and a former director of the Master of Social Work program at Union University, taught me some unforgettable lessons on the impact of Christian spirituality on leading and helping:
If you have nothing of value to offer, how can you add value to others? Do your values and moral beliefs add to your life and sustain you in times of need? If they don’t, I would ask a) do you really believe the values you claim to believe? And If so, b) Are you truly living out the values you claim to espouse?
Not everyone you help will have the same moral values and beliefs that you do. And that is ok. When you start on common ground concerning what will help that person, and you believe you can provide what is needed in order to help, with genuine desire to be helpful, you will likely add value to that person’s life by your actions. As values-driven helpers, we have to understand that we are filling a specific, narrow role in the lives of those we help. Stand strong on your values. Also stand on your belief that people can act in their own best interest and make necessary changes to do so.