Today I would like to share T.S’s very emotive, true story from his blog “Crazywriterof6.” As I read T.S’s distressing reality, I felt my body became anxious. I felt his apprehension and fear. His sense of loneliness and isolation is palpable. He says… “Maybe some of you can relate and see that even then, you weren’t alone”. No child should be in dread every day, isolated and living with the fear of bullying!
In my last post I wrote about the difficulty I had in supporting my children, both victims of bullying, because of the pressure on victims to remain silent. You might like to read it… Big Boys…Don’t Cry!
We now hear in T.S’s own words, his deeply ingrained and debilitating belief as to why he was bullied… “The torture continued. Many moments before this event, many after. I have written some of them out, just to get them out. All this because I was different than the “normal people”, different from what society says I should be. Different because I was overweight”. I believe he was not different… everybody is different and everybody has the right to be respected for who and how they are.
Please enhance your understanding by reading his story…
Have you ever expected or wished for the easy path? I know I have on many occasions!
Life is easy if as a parent/teacher your children/students excel at sport, are the high achievers, are highly academic or simply, functioning!
But that’s not always reality and as a parent or teacher you’ve noticed your child/student disengage and opt out of school and fail exams. Your dreams and expectations are fading in front of your eyes. You’re upset, disappointed maybe even embarrassed.
Your child/student ‘should’ be independent, ‘should’ be academic, ‘should’ be functioning… but they’re not!
They’ve just ruined all your well laid plans and you feel bad! Now, spare a thought for how bad your child/student feels and that’s before you opened your mouth and added insult to injury.
So now what?
Well now is the perfect time to review YOUR expectations!
If your child/student had just been diagnosed with a major heart complaint, what expectations would you have? I bet you’d focus on what they can still achieve. You’d admire them for getting out of bed. You’d be pleased they pushed through their health limitations and managed to attend school!
So please, also take mental health into consideration and revisit YOUR expectations . The verbal and non-verbal messages you give your child/student, can be life-defeating when they struggle with mental health issues, bullying or what may even seems like an uncomplicated adolescence.
So if your child/student manages to turn back in for class…
1. Start by acknowledging that there is some issue.
2. Next acknowledge the fact that your child/student is in attendance TODAY.
3. Note the possibility they may not make the grade… but look for the bigger picture.
4. Practice unconditional, non-judgemental love and see the effort they are making, no matter how small.
5. Acknowledge their presence.
6. Recognise their engagement. Tell them you see that they have pushed through their health limitations to attend school and mix with their peers rather than self-isolating themselves in their bedroom!
Now you’ve realigned YOUR expectations! Now you’re telling them they are good enough, exactly as they are!
This approach will help your child/student learn to accept themselves as good enough. They may even let themselves feel happy! This very powerful feeling is addictive and soon they will want more. They will, in their own time, step into the driving seat and begin to empower themselves.
As a parent/teacher, try to understand, what is run of the mill and easy for one child/student, can be very challenging for another child/student. Placing value on their efforts not their achievements can be a game changer. (If you can see no effort, review your expectations again. Maybe just breathing and staying alive is taking all their effort). Love them even more, they need it more!
Watch them as they engage with life on their terms, at the level they are able for, at this precise moment. Now you’re encouraging them to pass the more important and real test – the test that is not the easy path but the path of life!
Have you ever had your expectations dashed? Have you realigned your expectations and seen your child/student flourish?
I enjoyed some relaxing leisure time with colleagues and students on our yearly outing recently. Our trip included time at The Irish National Stud & Japanese Garden. This display of flags represents all the countries that have completed The Irish National Stud Breeding Course. Can you spot your flag here? If you can or if you can’t, please say hello and tell me where you are on the globe? Better still tell me something interesting about where you live?My geography is improving daily thanks to the little map on WP Stats!
You can’t beat the sight or sound of a wave, or many waves to wash over you and sooth your spirit. A friendly wave from across the street or from a friend as they drive past also lifts my spirit. Top it off with a hug and you’re onto a winner.
Do waves and hugs improve your day?
Inspired by Calmkate’s Friday Fun – Waves @ aroused blog
Today a father and his little son were walking along a quiet street approaching a corner. The little boy, about three years old, made a dash away from his father towards the corner of the street. We were driving towards the same corner. My husband had already anticipated the possibilities and slowed down, well below the speed limit.
I saw the father of the little boy suddenly react. He ran a few steps and grabbed his son by the arm, just at the edge of the path. He aggressively jerked his son’s little arm a number of times, loudly chastising him as we drove past. I thought about how many times I had near misses when my children were young and I could hear my heart beating loudly in my ears.
This child had done something wrong, but he is a child and still learning. The mistake he made could have meant he was seriously injured or even worse, had he actually dashed off the street and onto the road in front of our car.
I thought about who needs to be corrected here. Nobody trains us to be parents. After fourteen years in school we leave without any training or qualification in childcare. But when a parent walks along a quiet street with a three year old child, and pays more attention to their phone screen than to their child, then it’s not the child that needs to be corrected!
So, if you have a near one with your child, think about who needs to learn from the experience and if you’re ready to jump in and chastise your child, think about what message you are giving them…
Instead, I encourage you to calm yourself. Kneel down to their height, hug them to you, tell them you love them. Then look them in the eye and tell them about the fright you got, talk about the rules of the road and about the danger of dashing off the path onto the road and then sit back and think…
Thank your lucky stars that you are still a parent…
and that you still have time to enhance your parenting skills…
because no matter how much attention you give your phone screen…
Google, Ecosia or any other search will not take away the heartbreak or show you how to bring your little son back to life.
‘an intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who are handicapped or learning-disabled, or racial and sexual minorities.’
Have you ever booked a holiday or a mini-break and been very aware of what’s included in the package? Well, I know anytime I’m lucky enough to plan a holiday, I pay a lot of attention to what’s included as part of the deal!
If I’m booking two nights away for example, I like to have breakfast included on both mornings and it’s a bonus if dinner on the first night is included at a nominal cost.
It’s also encouraging if access to a gym or leisure centre is included at no extra cost as part of the package deal, although any of you who know a little about me will have guessed I’ll probably admire the gym from afar and spend more time relaxing in the sauna than strutting my stuff in the pool! But even so, it’s probably fair to say that inclusivity is important to me!
And maybe that’s why inclusitivity is important in other areas of my life. I’m always aware at any meeting or event of the importance of reaching out and helping others feel included. Just like I did at my recent ICASSI in Bonn. You might like to read about my ICASSI experience here Perfectly Imperfect
I seem to have a radar that helps me spot people who are just a little outside their comfort zone and I enjoy helping them feel at ease.
Years ago, for example, I was involved in setting up a local women’s club and a young mother, a non-national joined us. Most people there made polite conversation with this newly settled person to our rural community but none made a point of actively including her. As a result I tried a little harder to include her and I enjoyed getting to know this lady and watching her settle in and make friends as time went on.
Maybe it’s because I find people fascinating, or maybe it’s because I grew up in a three generational home where my Nana also loved being around people and included me in her frequent visits to neighbours and friends in our locality.
Or maybe it’s because I best describe myself as an introverted extrovert…yes, if you didn’t already know it, you can be both!
So, I like my own company and quiet time but I love people, I love being around people, I love getting to know people and I love people feeling included and being inclusive. This is probably because I hate walking into a social situation on my own. I’ve had to push through that feeling at ICASSI recently (as you can read above) and it’s encouraging to have overcome that challenge. But knowing how it feels for an introvert to face a gathering… of more than one person!… is important, as it gives me insight into what it’s like for anyone who finds themselves on the fringes of any social situations. I know, like me, they probably find it a bit intimidating at first until they find their feet!
So next time you consider a hotel break or wonder what’s included in that all inclusive package deal, spare a thought for inclusitivity in other areas of your life and spread a little of your warmth and social inclusion further afield!
Thanks for your company and for including me in your day! In what ways do you like to be included? Have you ever felt excluded? How did it make you feel? Have you ever gone out of your way to include or exclude others?
Last month I travelled to Bonn for ICASSI 2018, (learn a little more about ICASSI here.)
I got this opportunity after applying for one of a limited number of places on an Erasmus programme offered by my employers. I had been hoping, like a real live blogger, to post some updates while in Bonn but my internet connection didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m home almost a month and I’ve been unable to concentrate long enough to pen my thoughts because I’ve been paying and still am paying the price in CFS/FIBRO currency for the huge amount of energy I expended during the wonderful yet demanding week at ICASSI but I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, thanks to insights from Adlerian Psychology, one of which is having the courage to be imperfect I can accept that a post just over a month later is not perfect but is instead perfectly imperfect. It is good enough, I am good enough and I hope you find it good enough and if not, well that’s ok with me too!
I travelled alone to Bonn, and I didn’t know anybody there except one of the faculty, Karen. I found it a little intimidating heading into the registration area on the evening I arrived. Everybody appeared to know each other, there was an exciting buzz that was upbeat and friendly, yet I felt like an outsider.
As soon as I had my name badge on and a cup of tea in my hand I mingled about. I knew I just had to call upon my courage and do my best to connect with others.
I soon discovered that so many people, from all over the world, have either been to Ireland or are curious about Ireland. I sat down beside a young Asian lady, who was on her own. It turned out that it was her first time at ICASSI also. She came looking for me at tea break a day or two later, asking to take a selfie together and thanking me for talking to her that first evening as she had been feeling lonely and apprehensive in her new surroundings. Reaching out to encourage others takes courage too but it’s definitely worth the effort.
If you were energetic and wanted to partake in an exercise programme, then your day began at 7am. If not you could start your day at 9am, like me, with a Plenary session which was a one and a half hour presentation with power point delivered in English and translated into German or vice versa.
Tea break was from 10.30 until 11am and morning classes started promptly at 11am until 1pm. Lunch was available on site if you wished.
I usually walked back to my hotel to grab a quick siesta following my lunch. This helped recharge my battery for the afternoon classes which started promptly at 2pm until 4pm.
When afternoon class ended there was then the option to attend short presentations from 4.45 to 6pm at which time dinner was served. There was a vast canteen area and plenty of outdoor seating which was so welcoming in the warmth of the evenings and provided ample opportunities to talk to lots of interesting and like-minded people. Coping with the heat was challenging as it ranged from 31 degrees on Monday to 40 degrees celcius on Wednesday. Thankfully a thunder storm and lots of rain on Thursday saw temperatures drop back around the early 30’s which dare I say felt managable! Bear in mind 25 degrees is considered a scorcher of a summer’s day in Ireland and quite rare!
There was ample opportunity for socialising every evening and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday an evening programme of entertainment started at 7pm and included a German Night, a talent show and a closing ceremony. There was a lovely bar where we gathered to relax over a drink or two and there was always someone happy to sing or play a guitar!
There were many different courses to choose from and I decided to participate in two short courses, instead of one long programme. I chose Cooperative Problem Solving and Encouragement in Stressful Situations. These courses were delivered using an Adlerian approach which is based on respect and social interest. Working in small groups was a great way to get to know some of the participants better.
I’ve come away from my first ICASSI with so many beautiful memories which include lots of conversations, laughter, fun, cultural insights from participants from 35 countries, renewed awareness of the importance of community, lots of new friends and promises of e-mails, a fantastic approach to cooperative problem solving and strategies from BASIC PH to encourage myself and others through stressful situations. Looking back now it really was A New Book…a beautiful one!
Thank you for reading and sharing in this experience with me!
I’d love to hear your comments or answer any questions you have.