Every once in a while, I will throw a Yiddish word into the mix when nothing else will do. Welcome to the word “Mensch.” Literally, it means “person,” but in reality, it means so much more. A mensch is a person who behaves in the right way, does things to help others, and earns the respect of those around him or her.
I’m in Israel right now. While hopping trains to get home from a nutrition conference, I lost my way and found myself in a very remote train station. The train platform had no map of the train lines, so I headed downstairs to see if my minimal Hebrew skills could get me some answers. Oh, I got answers, but none that made sense to me. So, I returned to the train platform and stood there for a while, trying to figure out my next move. Suddenly, a woman approached me.
“Do you need some help?” She asked in Hebrew.
“I’m trying to figure out how to get back to Jerusalem,” I answered.
“Let me go downstairs with you and help you get the information you need.” Wow, I thought to myself, I’m in the midst of rush hour and this woman is willing to take time out of her busy commute, and possibly miss her train, to help me find my way home. What a mensch!
Having diabetes can make people feel terribly lost as though they have taken the wrong turn somewhere and do not know where to go from there. At times, they may feel as if they are riding the wrong train, a ride that doesn’t involve enjoying life. Fortunately, the diabetes world is filled with people who are willing to help. If you feel confident in your diabetes care, volunteer some of your free time to help others find their way. Here are a few steps you can take to live well with diabetes by becoming a “diabetes mensch”:
- Welcome newcomers to Internet message boards and forums.
- Think about the healthcare providers who have helped you with your care and suggest that others connect with these types of experts in their areas.
- You do not have to be a medical expert to offer support. Just saying that you care can mean a great deal to someone who feels lost.
- Share the positive side of diabetes. Let others know about great products you have found, physical activities you enjoy, and personal solutions you’ve discovered.
- Do not let angry or frustrated comments deter you. Remember how you felt once upon a time. Learning to live with diabetes is not easy.
- Continue learning about diabetes so you can provide up-to-date suggestions.
Above all, just be yourself, share what you know, and become a diabetes mensch and help others onto the right train so they can find their way home. You never know when your help is going to be just what a person needs to feel better about their diabetes and more in control of their life.