Thursday, May 07, 2020

WE LOVE YOU

We're all finding out things about ourselves during this lockdown.

That's eight billion of us earthlings locked down, so there's a heck of a lot of self-discovery going on.

How about you then?

Yes you. You who's looking at the screen with these words on it. What have you discovered about yourself during this strangest time in the planet's history.

As you're on this page I'm guessing you're either in fostering or thinking about it.

Either way you care about children and young people. So you possibly have a clearer picture of your own childhood than the average person. It's probably a solid fact, though it's not been researched yet, that adults who are good with children have a clearer memory of being children than those who don't understand or sympathise with kids.

I try not to talk about myself if I can avoid it but it's the only way to go on with this thought.

See, I've sometimes been told I'm 'stoical', as in someone who puts up with whatever it is and doesn't whinge. So, yeah, not a bad thing to be, especially in fostering. Only this; with a bit of time on my hands I thought I'd look up 'Stoical' in case it's more than just another word. And it is more. Blimey, it's an actual philosophy. Imagine..laa-di-daa me…someone with a philosophy.

When I say I looked it up, obviously what I mean is I YouTubed it. It turns out the Stoics were a whole movement of ancient Greeks who basically decided the best way to be happy is to accept that much of life sucks so learn to live with it. Or better yet allow your pains and disappointments to make you feel good because of the way you've stood up to them. They said things such as;

"Welcome with affection whatever fate sends."

and

"Be like a rock that has waves crashing into it Be grateful to the waves for they allow you to see how strong you are."

and (my favourite);

"Use obstacles as your fuel. Build a fire in yourself so great it laughs at rain."

The Stoics reckoned you should forget what other people think of you, it's your own opinion of you that is all that matters. They told each other to be good; to do good things and think good thoughts.

Thinking about it, I guess I try to be like that - although I'm only human too, I can rant and rave with the best of them but tend to do it alone when walking the dog.

Getting back to childhood memories. One of the support systems that Blue Sky has in place to help Foster Carers is counselling. I asked to talk to one of their psychologists a while back when I'd been upset about a foster child who had left us. After waving him off in his social worker's car I sobbed my eyes out and couldn't stop wondering how he was getting on. When a foster child goes they go. You almost certainly will never meet them again and never hear any news of them.

I told the counsellor, she started asking me about loss. The losses I'd had in life. She helped me unearth something awful which I'd almost completely buried but which she helped me see what a big impact it had on me. 

When I was seven my younger sister died. My parents were so badly shaken they thought I was too young to be affected, and hoped I didn't need them to help me - they wouldn't have known how to explain it anyway.  I was deeply shocked too of course, but decades later, being asked to let that dear foster child go and know I was losing him forever might have triggered the feelings I'd suppressed at my little sister's death, a very powerful thing and, you'd think, a totally negative one. But maybe not…

It might have also been the experience that taught me that no matter what misery comes along (and there's not much that's more miserable than the death of a child), you mustn't let it control you. In fact the best thing to do is get going and help the people around you who are going to pieces by behaving towards them as they need you to behave.

Check out your own childhood. I hope you don't have anything as dreadful as the death of an infant in it.

Enjoy a little time thinking about your childhood and who you are and why you are who you are.

And think about who loves you and why they do.

If you are in fostering, I love you and so does everyone in fostering.

If you're thinking about fostering; we all love you too.









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