During this last week in my nurture role I have been struck again at the difference made when staff working with children believe in the children, believe that they can become children who can cope with school, believe that the children are doing their best, believe that they are wonderful, lovely children. In the same way a vital part of my role is to believe in the staff working with the 4 year olds. I need to believe that they are nurturing, caring staff who are doing their best. Sometimes I need to help the staff to see the amazing job they are doing, sometimes they find this hard to believe, my role is to nurture them and support them just as much as I need to nurture and support the children.
We all need people in our life who believe in us, we all need people who tell us we are doing well and that it’s ok when we are finding it hard. There are a few special people I know I can turn to when I am feeling unsure and wobbly, I know they will be honest with me but they will also support me and they believe that I am capable, competent and able. When we are feeling unsure and a bit wobbly we need to have those people around us. Brene Brown suggests ‘carrying a small sheet of paper in your wallet, with the names of people whose opinions matter. To be on that list you need to be someone who loves me for my strengths and struggles’. For me there are 4 people on my list, who I know believe in me and will be there to remind me I am doing my best.
One aspect I love about being self-employed is the freedom to grow and develop new ideas. Sometimes these work, sometimes they don’t, which can be hard, but I really value the space to be able to try and the space to be able to think creatively. Over the last couple of years, I have realised that I really enjoy the creative process of thinking and developing new projects/ resources and I am learning to be braver about trying to push these forward and see if they can grow and take off.
Over the last year I have been working with my husband and 2 close friends on developing one of these new ideas, it started as an idea for a children’s illustrated book to explain Bipolar to children and then developed into the idea of making this into an animation as well as a book. Over the last 5 weeks, we pushed forward a crowdfunding project to fund this idea. We knew we were being highly ambitious in the amount we were trying to raise and we were really unsure if it would work ,if anyone would want to back it. We didn’t raise the full amount we needed, but we did have pledges for half the amount .
When you try out a new idea, you often don’t have a sense of whether it will work, it can feel really risky, you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position of risking rejection and criticism and that is very hard. The flip side of that is people do support you and you discover that people love you and believe in your idea. That has been my experience, as a group working on the Mummy’s got Bipolar project we have all been deeply touched by the support we have been offered, the generosity of people. Alongside this the incredibly moving comments from strangers telling us that they didn’t know how to tell their children about their Bipolar, messages of encouragement from people living with Bipolar telling us there is a great need for this project.
This morning I went for my usual Sunday morning walk around the meadow at the back of our house. This is a space where I can think and reflect. This morning I noticed a small horse chestnut tree sapling growing on the edge of the meadow. I loved noticing the beauty of this tiny new tree and the possibility of the great tree it might grow to become. We have been really encouraged by the support we had through sharing the idea of our project with others; our project feels a bit like that tiny tree, I still don’t know quite what it will become, but we are going to try and continue to see if we can make it grow.
This week I read these words by Ian Adams, ‘Belief is stepping into a story that rings true and allowing the story to form you, the story must shape again in you. The belief finds its believability in your life today’
These felt very pertinent words to me this week; I have spent some lovely moments this week on Exmouth beach, sitting, wandering, thinking and reflecting. In these moments of reflection, I became aware of the voices of doubt, questioning, and a sense of blagging, that have crept back into my head, without me really realising it. I became aware of the destructive story that was creeping back into my head.
The stories we have in our head about ourselves can be very powerful, sometimes they can be destructive and sometimes they can be really positive. For years, the story in my head about myself was that I was stupid. I failed at school, largely due to being a young carer. Fifteen years later I eventually did an early years degree and got a first, but I still felt that I was just blagging my way; I then did an MA in early years, and this began to quieten some of the voices in my head about being stupid.
Ian’s words helped me think a lot about the story I have been living in my head recently and how I can change that; how I can believe in a new story and live that new story. Importantly the words also really got me thinking about the stories the children I work with have in their heads, about themselves. Often their stories are about being stupid, naughty, angry and unloved. I and the educators I work with need to help these children to have a new story. One that is about being unique, special, loved and able. Our role in the year we work with them is to start to change the stories they have, enable them to believe the new story and to begin to live it.
Ian Adams– 40 temptations – Proost