Here’s another story reframing hack and how I use it…
Whenever my kids’ schools ask for donations to a trip, I pay for as many places as I can afford.
As a child with parents who were not engaged in parenting, I felt a sense of dread every time we were given something to take home. I know it would not be wanted or valued.
Any letters I showed them were thrown straight in the bin, school reports went unread and I knew well enough not to take any of my own artwork home after watching my stepfather burn my shoebox theatre in a drunken rage.
As a teacher in an under-resourced community, I knew that most of my children were navigating poverty and, in the same way my teachers did for me as a child, I sought to value rather than rescue them.
As a parent I reply to every letter, send thank you notes to the staff who go above and beyond for my kids (that’s every adult in school in my kids’ current schools!) and big them up to Ofsted.
When one school switched from cash in an envelope to pay for trips to an online system, it only allowed to pay for my own child so I asked them to add a section for additional voluntary contributions. They did! Now, every time we are invited to pay for trips, cakes, or sunflower seeds – there is an option to add any voluntary additional amount.
I can’t change my past but I can rewrite my future by being the adult I needed in my life as a child. It’s redemptive which is why showing up for others and doing WITHness is part of my own wellbeing strategy.
What small act of kindness can you do today?