Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Half term in our house always involves lots of reading. Well, it actually involves lots of re-reading the same old stories and not being allowed to jump a word or page because my kids know the tales verbatim.
So I always think of ways I can get through yet another rendition of The Three Little Pigs or Rumpelstiltskin. This year, as I was reading through, it dawned on me how these every day Fairy Tales reflect life here in the Special Needs Minefield. This made the whole re-reading much more interesting for me as I tried to come up with some analogies.
Here are a few that sprang to mind immediately:
The Boy Who Cried Wolf:
In our fairy tale, the Boy is the Government. They tell us time and time again how they are going to improve our lot; how they have made changes which will make our life easier, more fulfilling, more personalised. How many pieces of legislation have been introduced to improve our quality of life? How often does any of it make a difference?
So we stop believing them. We stop listening. We stop engaging. We’ve heard it all so many times before that we’re not listening any more. There are days the Government (and its many departments and employees) could sit with us and tell us the earth was round and we wouldn’t believe them. Perhaps they have cried wolf once too often.
If they really want to make a difference, what do you think they need to do. What should their first step be?
In our fairy tale, we have the same struggle with having to guess. Like the Queen had to guess Rumpelstiltskin’s name to save her child, we have to guess a number of things too.
Guess what my name is? Guess what I do? Guess what service I offer? Guess what the criteria is? Guess what on earth I am talking about when I use jargon?
Swiftly followed by “Let’s stamp our feet when someone actually guesses correctly and we have to come through with the goods!”
Do we really need to go through the guessing game every time we need support for our child or young person? Do we really have time? I know there will be those people shouting “the local offer, the local offer – it does all of this” but really? Does it? I’ve yet to find a single Local Offer that really does make it easy to find what you need along with how to access it.
The Emperors New Clothes
This one brings to mind some of those Government-funded groups. The ones who won’t speak up and tell the Government what is really going on, in fear of losing their funding. Let’s all pretend everything is fabulous and working wonderfully. Let’s make sure we tell them what they want to hear.
Let’s not, hey?
If only, this fairy tale really came true. How much easier would our life be if we could tell someone was lying because their nose grew. Can you imagine if people always had to answer truthfully?
Were you really away from your desk when I rang? Is this really what the law says? Do you really want to help my child?
Oh wouldn’t it be lovely?
Three Little Pigs:
In our Fairy Tale, the houses built by the three little pigs reflect the practice being delivered by practitioners. The Straw house is the one where, to be frank, no one gives two hoots what they provide as long as they get paid. In the house made of sticks, the providers do give a hoot and have even attended a few courses but that’s as far as they have gone, they haven’t actually changed anything they have done but they’ve ticked a lot of boxes.
The people in the brick house are the ones we want. The ones who want to work with families, recognise the expertise and knowledge they bring; the ones who don’t just attend courses but then change their practice accordingly; the ones who put their hands up when they get things wrong and when they say sorry, they mean it; the ones who don’t sit down with a check list to see if you meet their criteria but sit down and ask how they can meet your criteria.
Let’s campaign for more brick houses.
Oh can you imagine having a magic lamp? Having the ability to choose just three wishes but knowing they will be fulfilled.
Just for fun, tell us what your three wishes would be.
The Pied Piper of Hamlin
These are those characters who talk a good talk. The ones who have said it so often that you believe it has to be true. Families follow them, without questioning where they are going, why they are going there or who is going with them. We need to stop following aimlessly. We need to be asking “what’s in this for them?” and “what’s the final destination going to look like?”
Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
The Big Bad Wolf is our biggest fear. For each of us it will be slightly different but there will be some common themes:
- A fear of the unknown
- A fear of what happens when our children are no longer children
- |A fear of when we don’t necessarily have a say in what’s best for our child.
- A fear of what happens to our child when we are not with them to protect them
- A fear of how our child may not be able to tell us
- A fear of our child dying
How do we face those fears and create a happy ending?
It is so hard to face these fears as so many of our friends and family really don’t get it. Over the last few years I have talked a lot about my fears for the future only to be told I shouldn’t be worrying about it yet or even, on occasion, told I was just looking for problems. So what do we do?
We need to make sure we are informed and we need to make sure we have dreams and aspirations. We also need to ensure we have standards and as LB’s mum said, we have to stop “accepting the unacceptable“. I know that is something I quote a lot but it sums it up so well.
We are hosting a conference on 30 January 2016 where we will be having workshops around Mental Capacity Act, DoLs, Resilience, true Working Together, achieving hopes and aspirations along with entertainment and lunch. Come along to the Finding Your Way conference, get informed and be inspired.
Debs is one of the co-founders and Directors of Bringing Us Together. She is mum to three child with a variety of SEND and has a great husband.