Friday, 28 February 2014

Who inspired you?

"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I wonder how many of us were 'inspired/guided/challenged/nudged/prompted' by a wise and mature adult when we were younger - or even lately?

My mother and father did not get on and I grew up, as an only child, in a house of evening arguments - especially after my father had had a drink. I used to constantly have those 'falling' nightmares - where I could not stop falling - down and down and down...a real lack of security in my senses.

After my father physically abused my mother one evening she left and I was bundled into a taxi at 02:00hrs aged 9.

My mother then died of cancer when I was 15, not long after I had moved back in with my dad. (we were living with my grandmother with 2 bedrooms between the 4 of us and a fold down bed in the living room).

Soon after I went off the rails. I started breaking into the school - not doing any damage but stealing the odd football and parts off cars. I also attempted to rob a garage where my friend worked and I rode a motorbike with no license, insurance or MOT.

I did so badly at school that I was held back to repeat my fourth year. This was the school that everyone was so proud that I gained entrance to, especially my mother. So here I was, I'd just lost the only person that really mattered to me and now the very system that should have been supporting me also separated me from all my mates!

Anyway, the head Geography teacher started to take an interest in me as a person and surprise, surprise that, without me really knowing, made a difference. I excelled in Geography and I was made a prefect. I now had to take the names of the late comers and not be one of them. I became rugby, basketball and volleyball captains and gained more qualifications in my final year than I had in the previous two.

That little bit of care and compassion from a wise teacher, when my father at home couldn't care whether I was home or not, turned something inside me to offer a different view of life.

Twenty years later I became the second youngest local authority Chief Executive in the UK and now Chair a youth befriending charity, where we have around one hundred volunteers to weekly befriend troubled youths between 7-17.

What stories have you of such 'nudging' from a wise human being I wonder?

Les
A Moodscope member.