By Marc C. Whitt
Ever try to quickly assemble your child’s Christmas toy when they were little without reading the instructions, or perhaps take on what first appeared to be a small do-it-yourself project without asking for help? Better yet –and I suppose this is for several of us husbands—not stopping to ask for directions when you know you are dreadfully lost in the middle of nowhere?

At one time or another, we’ve all “been there, done that,” haven’t we? And as hard as it is to sometimes admit, we oftentimes could avoid the pain of trial by error if we had only stopped to ask someone for help or taken 15 minutes or so to read the instruction manual.

Early in my marriage I’m sure I drove my wife, Jennifer, crazy at times when I refused to look at a map (okay…this was pre-GPS days) on trips where I assured her that I knew where I was going, only to admit later that we were lost. Of course, I could have saved us much time had I only pulled over and asked for help at one of several convenience stores I passed along the way.

In a recent Good Housekeeping article, “I Hate Asking for Help,” Nora Klaver, author of Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need, says this trait is common to our culture as most of us prefer being self-reliant. She points out that we tend to view asking for someone’s assistance or guidance is like admitting to one’s failure.

Looking back on my early years as a music parent, I am so thankful I had a handful of seasoned band and choir parents who took me under their wing to show me the so-called leadership ropes. In many ways, they mentored and trained me to become the band booster organization leader I was to become one day.

Had I not had their help, I would have been banging my head against the proverbial wall or hitting organizational or political land mine one after the other.

Perhaps the theme song we could all use for this topic is the Beetles’ “Help!”

“Help, I need somebody. Help, not just anybody.
Help, you know I need someone. Help!”

If you are a middle school parent whose child will be entering high school band, choir or orchestra this Fall, step out to become an engaged music parent – or as we at AMP like to say – a VIP (Very Involved Parent)! Find other parents just like you and grow together by involving yourself in as many ways possible in the life of your child’s music ensemble. AMP provides several wonderful resources for new parents ranging from books to monthly webcasts that will help prepare you to become a Super VIP!

Or if you are a music parent who perhaps is coming on board as a first-time booster officer, don’t become overwhelmed by the magnitude of your responsibilities. You can do it – with help from others! Don’t try to shoulder the weight of the world by yourself.

True—serving as a music parent organization or booster officer takes time, commitment, energy, creativity, time management skills, and a good dose of common, everyday sense. Find those who have previously held a position. Seek their advice. Learn from their mistakes. Build on their triumphs.

And just like the first-year music parent, take advantage of the many benefits and resources AMP has to offer officers. Asking for assistance is THE best way to become the officer your organization needs and deserves.

So the next time you’re feeling bit lost or overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask for “Help!” The thoughtful assistance you receive from others will be time very well spent resulting in a more effective and efficient you.

If you are interested in getting training for your booster officers and leaders, consider joining us for the Music Parent Booster Seminar, June 7-8 at the Conn-Selmer Institute.