Lean on me, when you’re not strong…

I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.

CareIf you’re reading this post, you may just be old enough to remember Bill Withers’ soulful song from 1972. Lean on Me helps us remember that all of us can use a hand sometimes…and we can lend a hand sometimes as well.  The older we get, the more challenges we face. As “they” say, it is what it is. But guess what?  We have a choice about how we face those challenges!

Let’s see. On one hand, we can be proudly and doggedly independent and not reach out; that approach may work…or not. We can be dependent, accepting help when we best do things ourselves. We can be co-dependent, giving so much of ourselves to someone else that our own well-being suffers.

OR…we can embrace interdependence! How does interdependence work?  We build relationships in which we reach out for help when we need it and lend a hand to others when they need it. We can achieve a wonderful balance and we all benefit!

I first became aware of the concept of interdependence through Skip Downing’s wonderful book On Course.  This textbook is used to help new college students learn strategies for success. One success strategy is interdependence. In On Course Mr. Downing describes interdependence as building mutually supportive relationships that help students achieve their goals and dreams, while helping others do the same. That’s good advice for all of us! We – absolutely – will be most successful when we ask for help when we need it and give help when someone else needs it.

In his July 2011 article entitled Interdependence Day(s): How to Create a Balanced Relationship in Psychology Today, Dr. Barton Goldsmith has this to say about interdependence:

The healthiest way we can interact with those close to us is by being truly interdependent. This is where two people, both strong individuals, are involved with each other, but without sacrificing themselves or compromising their values. What they have is a balanced relationship…Living in an interdependent relationship gives you both respect and nurturing. What a nice way to go through life.

Back in ’72, Bill Withers was onto something! While he might not have conjured up the word interdependent, he had a wonderful way of explaining the concept…

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
’til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Let’s all reach out to both lend a hand and accept a helping hand.

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Whether we call it interdependence or not, let’s get on board, my friends. We’ll all be better for it!

Kate

P.S. Here are a few variations of Lean on Me for your listening pleasure.

Michael Bolton – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpH7CXfDUUo
Audio only – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOZ-MySzAac
Audio with lyrics – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdlPVBvkr-s

“I’ll give that song a 73. It’s hard to dance to.”

Oh, does that bring back memories!

RockabillyDick Clark’s American Bandstand! Wow! It was soooo much fun to watch those teens dancing and listen to all the wonderful music. I was a shy country girl and couldn’t even imagine what it might be like to dance on national television!

Dick Clark started hosting Bandstand in 1956. I was only eight years old!! The fact that the doctrine in my little church frowned on dancing – I never did really understand why – likely made Bandstand even more fascinating. And it wasn’t just me! According to Groovy History, “Young people everywhere thought they had died and gone to heaven when Dick Clark introduced the American Bandstand television music show.”

On Bandstand Dick Clark provided an opportunity for audience members to give their opinions of songs, on a scale of 35 to 98. As Groovy History tells us, “A song usually got a better rating if it had a beat that was easy to dance to…If a song makes you feel like dancing, it has to be great!” I would definitely agree!

With Bandstand Boogie by Les Elgart as its theme song, American Bandstand over time introduced us to the likes of Roy Orbison, the Beach Boys, Chubby Checker, The Silhouettes, Fabian, Little Richard, and even a very young Michael Jackson.

If you’re a septuagenarian like me – or even if you’re not! – take a look at a few of these videos. They might just bring a smile to your face! (Who couldn’t use more smiles, y’all?)

Little Richard – Long Tall Sally and Tutti Frutti – 1957
Dion & the Belmonts – I Wonder Why – 1958
The Chordettes – Lollipop and Mr. Sandman – 1958
Chuck Berry – Sweet Little Sixteen – 1958
Danny and the Juniors – At the Hop – 1958
Jackie Wilson – Lonely Teardrops – 1959
Bobby Rydell – Wild One – 1960 (vocal only)
Chubby Checker – The Twist – 1960
Little Eva – The Locomotion – 1962   This is MY personal favorite!
Peggy March – I Will Follow Him – 1963
Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman – 1966
The Diamonds – The Stroll – 1968
The Jackson Five – I Want You Back – 1970
The Silhouettes – Get a Job – 1973

The list could go on and on! Now that we’re thinking about great old music, how about a couple more songs from 1956. While these tunes are not from Bandstand, I know you’ll enjoy them. They’re by a singer who needs no introduction!

Hound Dog
Blue Suede Shoes

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey down memory lane, my friends. Anybody out there want to do The Locomotion with me??? Just sayin’!!!