Be compassionate, and take responsibility 

for each other.

If we only learned those lessons,

this world would be so much better a place.

                                                                                                                       Morrie Schwartz




Were you an only child?  How was that for you?

Were you the eldest, youngest, middle?

Were you a twin?

What was the experience like for you and how do you think you were affected by it?

For many years, I worked with a quirky, fun-loving, compassionate colleague.  She would stop her car to herd mother duck and ducklings to safety across the road, (even if she was going to be late), she would chat to anybody in any queue at the cafe, she wore immaculate outfits with interesting jewellery and made us all laugh with her madcap stories of incidents that could only happen to her!  One such story was the time she lost track of time while talking to some people and suddenly realised she was going to be late.  She rushed back to her motel room removing her shirt while coming through the door and apologising profusely to her cousin… until she noticed that she was in fact talking to a reclining man in orange robes who was looking amused.  Mortified, she quickly withdrew to the next floor to hurriedly dress for the reunion dinner.

She loved working with children and always found their strengths and listened to their needs.  Behind her on the wall she had stuck a cartoon which depicted a health professional being asked, ‘What is the most important thing a father can do for his children?’  He answers, ‘Love their mother.’  If you are like me it may take a while for the simplicity of that truth to hit you.

Breathe in, follow your breathe, rise above your thoughts, (imagine the blue sky above the clouds like you are in an aeroplane), up here, you can feel that all you need and give is love. Repeat.







Good Enough Parenting

If you fail him, it must feel to him as if the wild beasts will

   gobble him up.

                                                                                        Donald Winnicott


What heating did you have in your house when you were growing up?

What memories does thinking about that bring back to you?

Donald Winnicott was a Child Psychologist who was troubled by the number of parents coming to him, worried that they were somehow letting their children down.  They believed that they weren’t perfect enough.  He developed the idea that children didn’t need perfect parents (as if that were even possible), but that children learnt and grew from realising that their parents weren’t perfect and that they themselves had to develop resilience and strength within themselves.  He wasn’t suggesting simply leaving your children to their own devices, as a laissez-faire or jellyfish parent does, but one who understands, that by allowing children space to make their own decisions and mistakes,  they will grow up to trust their instincts and have agency over their emotions.

Winnicott believed and taught the following about child raising:

Remember that your child is very vulnerable

Let the child be angry

Make sure your child isn’t too compliant

Let your child be

Realise the gravity of your work

A story comes to mind, I am about eight or nine, I have burst into tears for some now forgotten reason and run to my bedroom.  I hide under the bed, feeling confident someone would come to comfort me soon.  Slowly, I realise, I can’t keep up the crying and that no-one is coming.  But I have learned a powerful lesson; I can be upset, I can calm myself and regulate my own emotions.  More importantly, I am loveable, even though no one who loved me came to tell me so.

Further viewing:

Alain de Botton; Psychology,  Donald Winnicott