R U OK? Day is a national day of action to remind all Australians of the importance of asking our mates, colleagues and family “R U OK?” It’s on the second Thursday of every September (this year, it is today, September 11).
I think R U OK? Day is important because when I was a teenager around 13 or 14 years old I had an epiphany. Well maybe it wasn’t me. Maybe someone highlighted it to me. However, I came to the realisation that these kind of greetings weren’t as warm as they were made out to be.
Whenever two or more people meet up the most common greeting is “Hi, how are you?” When I was a teenager I realised that that question was often rushed, not giving the person much time to answer.
Somewhere along the line the question lost meaning and it seemed to me that people stopped really caring.
I could put it down to busy lives. There’s work, there’s the gym and there’s other hobbies and activities. Then there’s family and extremely close friends. Don’t forget some downtime and health issues. Peoples’ lives are filled to the brim.
So I am throwing out the challenge. When you run into someone today please take a moment to ask them “Are you OK?” and really listen to their response without any judgement. If their answer is no, guide the conversation with caring questions and give them time to reply. You may not be able to solve their problem, but an open ear is comforting.
The not-for-profit organisation called R U OK? was set up in 2009 and is dedicated to encouraging all Australians to regularly and meaningfully ask anyone struggling with life, “R U OK?”. They have a really great site at http://www.ruok.org.au and I suggest you take the time to read some of the stories.
And from me, let me just ask you …… “R U OK?”
Here are some links to help you out when you ask the question: