With the depressing world news this week of Trump being voted in and rising numbers of hate crime, racism and sexism across the UK and America. I find it easy to be sucked into the darkness of the world news, of the media, to begin to view everything through negative lenses and miss the beauty and good things which are happening around me. To try and counteract this I have been trying hard to practice thankfulness. Thinking of things each day which I am thankful for, things which have been positive.
Some weeks in the nurture role you have to work quite hard to find the positives, but this week it was wonderful to see the children I work with coping well, taking part, enjoying school and smiling. Yesterday I trained Sunflowers day nursery, I have worked with them many times over the years, it was a joy to spend time with them again, to see how they have developed, I was reminded how much I love training, how I love supporting and nurturing staff to develop ideas, try things out, reflect and ask questions and how much I learn from them, once again I left Sunflowers feeling inspired and enthused about the richness of early years practice.
This morning I walked around the meadow at the back of our house, I love the Autumn morning when the sun is rising and there is mist hanging over the valley, a reminder of the beauty that is around me.
Through the darkness and the negative stories I know I need to find the positives, to notice the good things which bring me hope and make me smile.
This term is about reflecting and reviewing the nurture work over the past year. It is time to write end of year reports, remember the children as they were in September and recognise the tremendous change , they, their staff and I have seen over the year. It is about stopping and noticing the beauty in their development.
The year has at times been fraught, there have been many tears and much laughter. Some highlights for me have been seeing children who started the year very scared and frightened are now laughing, joining in, making friends. Being able to write end of year reports and describe a child as being a happy, smiling, joyful child is a wonderful achievement. Once again I have seen school staff work so hard to accept, love and support these children. Once again I have been reminded that progress for a child is not just about their academic attainment.
Throughout the year I have walked around the meadow at the back of our house, every Sunday morning, it’s a bit of ritual for me, it is a place where I can think, reflect and just be. A thought I had this morning was about the changes I see in the meadow through the year, in the Autumn it has been mown, it is short, sparse and a bit spiky, in the winter if often looks quite bleak, then in the spring it begins to develop new life, to grow and develop and in the summer it is space of beauty. This morning I noticed the butterflies and moths have returned, more of the wildflowers were there, it is back to being a space of beauty. But you only really notice the butterflies and the flowers when you slow down and notice and look. I felt this was really similar to the nurture work. There are times at the beginning of the year where it is hard and spiky work and there are many times in the year where it feels really bleak. But it does change, through the process of remembering and reviewing, of stopping and noticing the small changes that have been made, we can see the beauty that has developed and that is something to celebrate.
It has been a week of awful news , the homophobic deaths in Orlando, the tragic death of Jo Cox and personally an old friend of mine , Bob Holman died of motor neurone disease this week. I have also been reminded several times this week, how extremely hard and sad life is for many of the children I work with. In weeks like this, it is really hard to find any hope, to find any light in the darkness. I have found myself each day acknowledging how hard it feels, how desperately sad it makes me feel. When life is dark it’s important to acknowledge the darkness and the feelings that brings. But I also know, particularly with the children I work with, I need to find some light, some hope.
The hope for me this week has been reading Brendan Cox’s words, just hours after his wife’s death, calling on people to “fight against the hatred that killed her”, reminding people how Jo believed in a better world. Bob Holman’s death is very sad, but he leaves behind a legacy of fighting for justice and against poverty, his work influenced and touched many people, my memory of Bob is that he hoped and believed that things could be different, he believed there could be change.
Finding light in my nurture work has been through seeing the children laughing, engaging and playing, these sound like small things, but for many of the children I work with, that is a huge achievement. Also in the rest of life enjoying being with friends and family, enjoying the preciousness of our time together and giving thanks for our lives.