Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A Great Success Story

Young People are our Future helped me find my way

In July 2012 a 14 year old girl called Rebecca reluctantly attended one of the Life Skills for Children sessions held in Milton Keynes. Together with 17 other young people she participated nervously throughout the seminar and then disappeared very quickly at the end of the activity.

Three weeks later I met Rebecca again whilst delivering a PSHE session within her school. She was very keen to demonstrate to those around her that she knew the content of the course, so it seemed natural to let her assist me in running the event.

At the end of the session her teacher spoke to me and explained how challenging she has become at school. Attendance was poor and her behaviour was terrible. As a result she was behind on a majority of her school work.

I decided to ask Rebecca directly why she had such a difficult time at school, and the conversation revealed that her poor behaviour wasn't just restricted to school, but her parents were having a challenging time with her as well.

I invited her to attend a couple of events where I would have the opportunity to meet her parents and she obliged by turning up. It was very clear that unlike many young people I meet who have or are experiencing difficult times at home or school which has led them to behave badly, Rebecca has what could be described as a wonderful environment in what to grow up in.
Her parents were clearly devoted to her as were her younger siblings.

I decided to engage in a one to one session with Rebecca to attempt to find the problem. From the very beginning of the session, Rebecca kept highlighting how she has been given everything and desires nothing. Ipad, Iphone, TV, Laptop, you name it, she seems to have it. I asked how much she uses all of this technology and within a few minutes the problem was solved. Rebecca was like every other child who wants and wants and when they get, very quickly gets bored of it.

The girl who had been given everything was bored and not challenging herself to learn or have fun. Her brain was driven by the need to be entertained and when the IPAD stopped entertaining her she simply left it alone.

The more technology she had the more she relied on the initial buzz of entertainment but when it ran out she had to look else where for it. Mucking around and entertaining herself was the solution and in her own words she said "my friends laughed so I do it more".

This observation was relayed to her parents who initially dismissed my thoughts as stupid. I gave Rebecca a simple written task to create a diary of her life over a one week period. I asked her to write everything down from events that happened to her thoughts on subjects.

Rebecca did a great job and when I next visited the school I could not believe what I was told by the same teacher who had previously painted a gloomy picture of Rebecca. She said that her behaviour and attitude towards school and her work had improved massively.

So pleased with the result, I asked Rebecca to dedicate her time to creating a short story. It could be driven by any subject and she could explore her brain and see what happens.

Today I visited Rebecca in her school to run a PSHE session. I was pulled up by the teacher who said,
"In just a few months, Rebecca has gone from being behind in all subjects to being back on track with her school work, Her attitude towards school and teachers is completely different and I have just entered a short story she has written into a local competition because it is so good"

We often look so hard to find the reasons why young people do the things they do, but in this case it was staring both her parents and me in the face.

Well done Rebecca, I and we are proud of you.

The Life Skills for Children book has now been released and can be purchased at amazon. Click here for more information