According to Dictionary.com, an Enabler is: 1) a person or thing that makes something possible; 2) a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behavior in another. In today’s ‘politically correct’ society, being an Enabler has a very negative connotation, and to be branded one is either met with vehement denial or embarrassment.
The funny thing is…
Enable is the root word of enabler. Dictionary.com defines ‘enable’ as: 1) to make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to; authorize; 2) to make possible or easy; 3) to make ready; equip (often used in combination, such as ‘web-enabled cell phones’.
Hmm…so, something that starts out on a positive note sours with the addition of two little letters? Just call me politically incorrect then. In fact, one of my goals in life is to be an ‘enabler’…
I want to be an Enabler. To the best of my ability, I want to help people spread their wings, learn new things and expand their horizons. I want to teach people some of the basic life skills, so that they can take those skills with them, and hopefully make it possible to create a great life for themselves, their families and other people.
I want to teach them how to grow a garden, so they have the ability to at least provide a portion of their food. I want to teach them to cook, so they are prepared to make healthy meals. I want to teach them how to care for animals, and then about the cycle of life and death, so they can equip themselves to appreciate the life that was given so they could eat. I want to teach them good manners, so that they have the means to respect for themselves, and in turn, treat the land, the garden, the animals, and people with that same respect. I want to teach them a craft – whether sewing, weaving, fiber arts or any other type of craft I know how to do, so they can put clothes on their back, make their home a touch warmer or give a gift that was made with love.
I want to teach them the importance of wise decisions – to truly think through any given situation so they can determine the best possible outcome, so that they grow in confidence when faced with the really tough decisions. I want to teach them how to celebrate in the joyful moments, and how to handle failure or hard times with grace and acceptance – and then how to learn from those difficult moments that life will most certainly throw at them.
There is just something so special when you teach a young child something new. My young friend Nehemiah brought a glow to my heart when he sat down at my floor loom and studied every inch of it. When I showed him how it worked, then let him weave a few rows, his grin was unstoppable. Will he one day become a famous weaver? I have no idea, but I do know his mind was opened to something new. And I was his enabler…
When you teach your children how to garden, or how to care for an animal, you are ‘enabling’ them to learn how to care about something besides themselves, how to be responsible, and how to be task oriented. When you require them to make their bed, take out the trash or do other daily or weekly household chores, you are enabling them to learn self-discipline, how to follow orders and to have respect for rules. When you teach them to prepare a meal, you are enabling them to learn basic math skills, how to feed their family and how to follow through with an assignment until it is completed (no meal is actually completed until the dishes are put away and the kitchen is clean!)
When you ladle up a bowl of soup and have your children go with you to deliver it to your sick neighbor, you are ‘enabling’ them to learn compassion for others, generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness – all things that this world really needs. If you teach your children all these things and more, then you, too, are an ‘enabler’.
Yes. I am an Enabler. Given a chance, I will gladly enable any person to achieve greatness in their lives, whether it is to walk across a pasture in muddy boots as they live a quiet, simple life or to click their heels along a cement walk headed to a high-powered corporate position. If I can, in any way, enable someone to create a better life, then I will hold my head high and willingly accept the label. And in many cases, I want to be an Enabler to myself – so that I never forget the importance of living a life that sets a positive example for others.
Are you an Enabler? Tell us your favorite way of ‘enabling’ others – maybe together we can enable the world to be a better place!