31 Jul 2020

This is a mantra used by Southrop C of E Primary School and is relevant for us all.

In June I went to Southrop School to discuss with Mrs. McLellan what we would give the children as this year’s challenge when writing a story to be entered for The Luke Bitmead Literary Award.  This will be the third year we have given this award in honour of my son Luke Bitmead who was a published writer.  Interestingly we both had in our minds, even before discussion, something enabling them to demonstrate resilience as this would not only be in tune with the work already being done at the school but also link with my work as a psychodynamic counsellor.   I am fully aware that this is relevant for adults as well as children.   We all have a child inside and every child needs to feel safe to thrive.   As a child, if tension or dysfunction in the family means we’re in danger of being abandoned, neglected, unloved or even abused, we learn to hide parts of ourselves in order to survive or keep the family unit together.   These diversionary tactics become habitual until in a safe and loving environment we can release them and no longer be a victim.    Gaining resilience is empowering, enabling us to live enriched lives and unshackling us from the impotence of childhood.

We agreed the title for the story would be “What if I fall?........Oh, but what if you fly?”   The story would be about a character who has taken the risk to put up their hand and volunteer for something they aren’t certain they can achieve.   Along the way they will overcome challenges and develop as an individual.

In July I went to the school and talked to the children explaining what we would like them to write about for their stories this year.   I encouraged them to talk to me and give me their thoughts and ideas.   It is a real pleasure to see hands shooting up to answer questions.   We talked about birds and all the different breeds.   I admired the large wings they had created by each child making a feather and then they were all stuck together forming a large pair of wings.   Together we can fly is a wonderfully supportive statement and yes, if we all create a feather how strong the wings can become.   It demonstrates how being part of something gives more strength to everyone.

Now I am enjoying reading the stories the children have written and will go to the school on Friday for the judging with Mrs. McLellan co head and Jennie Tipple English co-ordinator when I feel sure we will have lively debate as to who this year’s winner will be.


The prize giving will be 22nd November 2019.


The 13th of May is Luke's birthday. Fresh flowers are on his grave surrounded by forget-me-nots that seeded themselves from last summer.  Luke is not forgotten.

Whatever we cultivate in times of ease, we gather as strength for times of change.


If you let cloudy water settle, it will become clear.  If you let your upset mind settle, your course will also become clear.