We all love a story in some form or other. Maybe we love to catch up on the latest gossip over a coffee or a glass of wine, maybe we love to snuggle down with a good book or indulge ourselves in the roller coaster of a box set – it is all story telling. But have you considered that the whole of every moment is about stories? You wake up and switch the radio or TV on. You listen to the news – stories of our world and beyond, you listen to the weather – a futuristic story that is part of yours, you listen to other peoples’ thoughts and discussions – you peek in on their story. Each step of the day you are writing your own story and you play a character in other peoples’ stories. Sometimes you can determine the role you want to play, sometimes you are assigned a character whether you like it, accept it, or not. But the stories roll out as the worlds rolls on.
What about the kids – the ones we work with and our own? Who writes their stories? Well to begin with their stories are very much written for them by the adults in their lives. And not all of those stories are happy ones – many are tragedies. But there comes a point when they are able to pick up the pen of self determination and start to write for themselves. As parents we can often struggle with this – surely we could write it better than them? But we need to let go and move from author to a key character. We need to step back and watch as they design their own plots and tread their own paths – there will be comedy, there will be tragedy but it will be their story.
And the kids we seek to help? The ones who have been assigned a part in a tragedy from birth? We need to help them to start to write their own stories. To turn their tragedies to triumphs, to recognise that they can determine the part they play and the character they choose to be. Yes, they cannot unwrite the start of the tale, or the impact that has had on who they are, but they can choose how it unfolds, they can choose who plays the most significant roles and they may even be able to determine how it ends. Let us enable them to become the authors of their own destiny rather than the victims of their past.