Feeling safer at the start of the new academic year

Well 2020 has cetainly been ‘a bit of a year’ and we’re only just about to start the new academic year!

In previous years the training days in September are always in high demand and I really appreciate being able to share/refresh or even introduce the Protective Behaviours, (PB) process to school-based staff all over the country.

This year, despite the difficulties with offering face-to-face training, I can still share the PB process thanks to the wonders of technology and my growing confidence in using it. And, in my opinion, if ever there was a need for Protective Behaviours and people of all ages and stages of development knowing and exercising their right to feel safe, that time is now.

I hope all those working in schools find the 10 minute video message below helpful in terms of helping them to feel safer and therefore also the children and young people in their care 🙂

 

More online PB adventures

The last few weeks and months have certainly been extraordinary and I feel so thankful for having as many choices as I have in terms of feeling and being safe. I’m also feeling grateful for the ‘opportunities’ this awful time has enabled me to discover, including finding authentic ways to share the Protective Behaviours process with a wider audience in an affordable way – I certainly didn’t expect to have as many bookings as I’ve had for my live online training and I will definitely continue to offer courses this way.

As well as having online Introduction to PBs and PBs in Practice sessions, I now have two models for facilitating the Certificated Protective Behaviours Foundation course: a 6×2 hour and a 4×3 hour version. I’ve also worked out a way to send all the materials needed for the whole course to attendees in one go and am really enjoying collating all the handouts plus little surprises in each envelope! And I’ve been asked to run another course for a college in the ‘school holidays’ – I love the way online training can work for people outside of the standard 9-5 and I’m hoping to offer a course where I’ll be working during the early hours of the morning while attendees will be eating their lunch.

While reviewing the training, I’ve had a few ‘Eureka moments’ including realising that some of the ‘traditional’ activities offered during face-to-face training don’t feel as safe online. (I feel confident there’ll be ‘shared-meaning’ with those of you who have experienced my ‘Feely Box’ Event – feels a tad sad to think it will never be dipped into again!). But, I’ve enjoyed designing new versions of activities and this lead me to taking another ‘risk on purpose’ and recording audio versions of materials I used to read aloud during training. I’m planning to make these available for whole team/staff training for the groups I was booked to be with in September as I think now, more than probably ever, it’s really important for the adults to feel safer as this will help the children feel safer too.

If you fancy a listen, the audio files are below 😊

Safe Place Exercise 

A People Place 

Remembering the Future 

 

Brexit Blues

Not quite sure how I will get through tomorrow as I still can’t quite understand how leaving the EU became a reality. One thing is for sure, tomorrow I will be employing all my knowledge of the Protective Behaviours process to keep me feeling as safe as possible as the day progresses. I will be employing the PB strategy of ‘protective interruption’ by not listening to or watching any news coverage – this may well mean turning the radio down on the hour and averting my eyes from any screens if I choose to go the gym. I will instead celebrate all things European with as many like-minded people as possible – thinking of holding an EU evening of food & drink and decorating the house with my various EU flags and bunting….

Slightly earlier today I realised that I’ve been able to get through 2020 so far because training Protective Behaviours gives me hope for the future. I then started to collate some of the feedback from January’s courses so I have something concrete to share with people that illustrates how empowering PBs is and how it changes the way people feel, think and behave. So, moving forward I will continue to persist, which is another one of the seven PB strategies, and elegantly challenge, using the PB language of safety model, anyone who tries to tell me to just get over Brexit and make the most of it. (PBs is definitely not about ‘put up and shut up).

If you’d like to read some of the feedback from people who attended training in January 2020, please see document PBTP Training Feedback Jan20 x2.

 

Where did that one go?

Oh my word, just realised the last time I sat down and updated my blog was way back in July and now it’s only one more sleep ’til Christmas! I don’t know where this year has gone although I am well aware of what a truly awful and yet, at the same time, awesome one it has been. Those of you who either delight or despair at the deluge of Tweets that are constantly delivered to various devices will know only too well news of heart-wrenching and heart-warming events. perhaps before your nearest and dearest. And I wonder if this is one of the reasons my attention has been diverted from blogging and choosing instead to employ 140 characters at least daily via Twitter. This is also the platform that has provided some inspiring ‘short stories’ as well as a Network of ‘strangers’ who I may never meet, but feel like I know.

Thank you for all the follows, retweets, likes and direct messages – already looking forward to lots more informative ‘conversations’ in 2017. So with eyes well and truly set on all the hopeful opportunities the next 12 months could bring and in an attempt to build healthy and safe networks that both inform and inspire I heartily recommend the following ‘Tweeters’ to you: @jcstaff_, @ivy1428ivy, @madblack65 @bellathebestdog.
You can also find out what I’m feeling and thinking on a more regular basis by following @sallyannhart

One final thought courtesy of @bellathebestdog:

The Greatest Love of All?

I have a passion for the dulcet tones of George Benson – this began during my teenage years and continues to date. His version of The Greatest Love of All, (Michael Masser music and Linda Creed lyrics) is a song I play during my ‘Baby It’s You & Me’ training as the opening line states: “I believe the children are our future” – and I don’t think there are many people who would argue with this. Another interesting thing for me about this song is the way it continues:

Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody is searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me

The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

So the ‘hidden message’ of learning to love yourself is something else that I like to bring to peoples’ attention. The ability to nurture, cherish, value and respect yourself is vital I believe if we want to be able to do this authentically for others. There is a disconnect for me when a person is very caring and kind to others, yet doesn’t demonstrate the same level of care and kindness to themself. And it’s not about being arrogant or big-headed – it’s about practising compassion, tolerance and empathy for people which includes us! After all, we were children once.

The final 4 lines continue like this, (I’m often tempted to bring out the karoake singer in me by then – however I normally play this at the start of the session so perhaps don’t feel safe enough to share my vocal skills with the group so early in the day):

And if by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love.

And that for me is literally the ‘bottom line’ as I believe the ability to feel truly loved and to love other people is only possible when we also love ourselves. And in order to do this, the need to let go of all the shame and blame that’s been collected from childhood onwards is crucial. Which reminds me of another voice that goes round and round in my head whenever I find myself slipping into ‘put down’ language – “Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare” ~ Brené Brown.

So there you go, it’s as ‘simple’ and ‘easy to achieve’ as that. The reality may be harder as the temptation to focus on all that we’re not is everywhere around us and is the reason advertises manage to convince us we need this face cream that perfume, a shiny fast car or brand of clothing to feel good about ourselves. However, as the article by Jojo Thomas: Self-Compassion: The Hardest Act Of All illustrates, being our own personal Cheerleader, believing ‘WE CAN DO IT!’ and giving the ‘child of the past’ and person we are today a virtual hug not only brings into to focus love for ourselves, but also the strength of love. (Almost used the word ‘power’ there, but realised that I would then be quoting another song and surely one power ballad per blog is enough for anyone!)

Easter Already

Wow, here we are at Easter already, clocks have ‘gone forward’ and daylight hours stretch into early evening – how time flies when having fun. Lots of opportunities have appeared already this year to ‘risk on purpose’ and persist to get Protective Behaviours on the map nationally and internationally. So, I’ve been doing a fair bit of commuting including a fact-finding trip to Amsterdam and a road-trip to Cornwall to facilitate a Protective Behaviours Workshop for over 100 representatives from schools.

Closer to home, more organisations seem to have discovered how the Protective Behaviours process can be used to empower people and not just employees, but also the people they work with and their families. Add to this the links to established projects and it’s no wonder things feel really busy in ‘PB-land’. So I’ve decided now is the time to try and add some order to what at times feels a tad ad hoc – still mulling over the best way to do this as have a number of ideas swimming around in my head. However, by the end of 2016 my plan is to have Protective Behaviours recognised nationally and in a place where it can move forward via a wider group of people and the wide range of organisations they represent. Once again I ask/invite you to ‘watch this space’ 🙂

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Oh my – what a busy start to 2016 and apologies for not finding the time to even wish A Happy New Year!

All good in my world which feels like it has become PB-land with so much training, practice and network development going on. All fab in my opinion and feel so privileged to be doing so much of what I believe in and know makes a difference to people both professionally and personally. So just time to say a BIG ‘Thank You’ to all that have attended recent courses including those that focus on how Protective Behaviours can be used as a Child Sexual Exploitation intervention and also with children in their earliest years to support well-being and enable their voices – more information to follow….

I’d also like to thank Judith Staff and Ann Seal for being on my PB Buddy network and sharing some of the load in delivering courses. Great to have people who really know their stuff and so generously share their energy, enthusiasm and expertise with others which demonstrates so well what people can do to make a difference.

More soon I promise. In the meantime you might like to follow us on Twitter as this way updates will definitely be more regular 😉