Team work…invigilating

Yesterday I enjoyed after-work drinks with a group of lovely ladies all from within the educational sector. The group included: fellow exam invigilators, teachers, wives of teachers and pastoral support and most of which were parents too.

We had a healthy open forum about our views of many aspects of the educational system and our own parenting experiences. I think I can safely say we all agreed how stressful the exam period is for our students/children and adapting to the various on-going changes of exam structures and grading.

I think many of us also agreed that a percentage of stress that students experience is often applied maybe inadvertantly by parents and I know I shared how even with various professional skills it is hard, at times, to support our own children through their personal journeys. Again, I slipped in the subject of encouraging boys to open up and talk.

To on-lookers invigilating may appear boring but when you work as part of an efficient caring team you soon realise just how important the role is. Every shift is different and one must be prepared for the unexpected and quickly offer support to help ease a stressful situation for a student already in a stressful situation! I always come away feeling I have done something useful and this is confirmed by the appreciation shown by the great school I have the privilege to work within.

Through our eventual ‘wine goggles’ our conversation moved onto the importance of demonstrating kindness and being grateful and how events in our own life sometimes remind us to ‘live a day at a time’ (one of my own mantras).

Many of the group have other roles often working in isolation and it really is good to feel a sense of belonging to a team however small and for however long. If any of the team are reading my blog today we must do that again and soon. I for one will make more of an effort to keep in contact before we meet for the exams in 2019.

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Keeping positive

Keeping positive all the time can, for many, be an up-hill struggle and my NLP coaching of clients confirms this on a regular basis. Even the most successful people have certain areas of their life where they feel they have lost control and feel bewildered to say the least.

In life, at times, we are all guilty of being just too hard on ourselves and focus on the negative elements of our lives (often out of our control anyway) rather than celebrate the positives. In my experience sometimes we need to remember how valued we are by those that know and love us. Again I like to say how it is important that we tell those we love that we do so and appreciate who they are and their positive contribution to our lives.

Without fear of contradiction many people we know within our immediate circles may be struggling but not telling us, so, sometimes we need to ask the question and give that person the opportunity to share. It is no secret that talking helps

Yesterday I made a passing positive compliment to a young student who beamed and said that they had been having a bad day…and I just made it better!  Engaging with people who cross our daily paths can be fruitful..the kindness of strangers.

Keep positive and keep caring.

Conflict of interest

How refreshing it was to watch the two part BBC programme ‘The Doctor who gave up drugs’ it certainly was thought provoking and revealed such blatent clash of interest between the medical profession, drug companies and producers of non-cow’s milk! Dr Chris Van Tulleken showed just how our children can be helped with alternatives to drugs for such issues as AHD and teenager depression including mindfulness.

Friends know that I am anti-drugs so it comes as no surprise I would agree with his findings. However, it does disappoint and alarm me that GP’s seemingly dish out anti-depressants to children and the bereaved when counselling and emotional support is the safer bet. I know some parents will scream and say unless you are living with a child with these challenges you have no idea..but I would rather not put a child’s life and well-being at risk. The second part showed how some teens were suicidal after their dosage of certain anti-depressants being increased and that is not just coincidental.

It was extremely worrying to see Dr Tulleken’s visual presentations in terms of the sheer volume of drugs our children are taking as well as the horrendous amount of Calpol we are administering to babies and young children.

Today I am not ranting just concerned but maybe more so that the documentary revealed how drug companies and babymilk manufacturers fund Doctors’ educational conferences where their products are certainly marketed well…if that isn’t a conflict of interest then my name isn’t Manning!

Facing our fears…the talking cure

Everybody has their own personal fears and phobias and it can be a hard decision to face them. This can be a personal challenge that we know we need to learn to overcome but it may take some time before we feel that we are ready to do so.

So many problems we have as adults stem from childhood experiences and sadly can prevent us from trying new things and from leading a full life. CBT and NLP Life Coaching of course are very successful and once a client understands his relationship to and/or the cause of a stumbling block towards his/her own particular issue they go forward with far more confidence.

I am always mindful that everything is relative to the individual and time and patience can do wonders… not forgetting bring great rewards to the counsellor/life coach working through their journey.

I always admire those that make the decision to seek help it’s a brave step but shows great determination. Being in an environment of trust brings comfort in itself and talking things through really does cure as Freud knew and reported only too well.

British tradition

Those that know me are aware I eat pretty healthily and don’t over indulge in take-aways. However, let’s be honest we all crave a treat now and then and how satisfying it can be to a) not have to cook b) enjoy a traditional meal and c)be able to say the quality was high?

Last night my daughter and I decided it should be a fish and chips night and we are lucky in our village we have a great fish and chip shop ‘The Old Cottage’. The chips are not greasy, but clean and fresh. I was lucky to indulge in rock salmon and be transported back to being a child – the safe option only one large bone. The fish was soft, tasted better than I remembered and the batter light and crispy. I only hear good comments on their food and in a village it’s vital to look after your customers and Nev and his staff certainly do that.

I walked off those few chips this morning and my cats are still licking their lips from their fish supper too. It’s great to support these British Traditions especially when you know the proprietor carefully selects his produce from quality suppliers for best results.

 

Complaining

We are pretty bad at complaining in this country and if something or somebody upsets us too often we talk about it but don’t find time to complain. Of course there are ways of complaining, staying calm but getting one’s point across…and after all if we don’t give the company or individual an opportunity to apologise and/or put things right they will never learn or value their customers.

Equally we are just as bad at writing to show thanks and appreciation too. If we are impressed about service then say so we all need praising how ever old we are.

 

 

How far we’ve come

Sometimes it is hard to focus on the progress we have actually made when faced with continual challenge. For those that have great strength of character and determination they will continue fighting whilst those around watch on in sheer amazement.

I am following the great challenge a rather special lady has been facing daily for the past six months and watching her smiling face on a short video today was like winning the lottery. The lovely Kim Smith is setting the bar so high in being inspirational! If only more people could summon her courage in what may be far less daunting challenges. However, my counselling training reminds me that everything is relative and what seems irrelevant to one person is insurmountable to another.

However, there is no doubt that having a positive attitude helps us overcome what life throws at us, and, in my own experience will carry us further than any other rehabilitation. Reflecting on how far we have come will hopefully spur us on to continue our battle whatever that may be. Keep shuffling Kim.

For anyone facing an uphill challenge…don’t give up..but don’t be too hard on yourself either and treat yourself to a break and something you enjoy doing..however simple that may be. Chocolate isn’t always the answer but boy it makes us feel better, and, it is actually good for you.