Derby to Leicester via Loughborough
Today it rained - a lot - with a lot of wind - and so we set off in rain gear and travelled by Route 6 cycle way but we arrived in Loughborough VERY soggy. We ate a lovely lunch with Loughborough Friends with the room strewn around with drying raincoats and wet puddles gathered under our chairs as shoes and socks continued to drain out. After lunch there was a bit of a break in the rain and most of us were starting to feel much drier until about 40 mins before the end of the ride where we received a deluge!
It was good to arrive in Leicester - very familiar places for me as this is where I grew up and lots of familiar friendly faces. The building itself is full of memories for me of things that have happened there at different stages of my life - the art room where we did lots of creative things for many years. The library where we used to meet for Family meetings and the main meeting room where so much had happened - weddings - including my own - dancing - plays - celebrations of the life of Friends who had died and the wonderful garden.
In one room I found a picture painted by a member of the meeting Anne Gregson. It showed the garden and two elderly Friends Gwen and Vera sitting on a corner bench under the trees. These two woman - now long died - were - amongst others - such key characters in my experience of the Meeting. I did not know them well but they were a part of this very welcoming steady 'attachment community'. They were part of the continuity that I went away from and came back to over and over even after I had long moved on from Leicester as my regular home.
Having such stability and continuity somewhere is an enormous help as one steps out into the world and I see the fragmentation of this continuity as one of the key contributors to the difficulties faced by many vulnerable children and adults. Stability enables the process of thinking back and thinking forward. It helps the organising of self in space as the predictability creates order and pattern.
Thinking back and thinking forwards is a developmental skill that many of our most challenging children and adults have not yet comfortably acquired. When faced with apparently illogical destructive behaviour it can be difficult to appreciate that a child or adult has not been able to consider the potential consequences of their actions. However if you do not yet have a sense of self in time and space such thinking is remarkably difficult.
So one of the features of a caring community - one that can care for its members and for the strangers that arrive or pass through - is the ability to create stability and continuity through the repetition of daily familiar actions - such foundations create a solid platform on which other actions become possible.
Stability and continuity are to be preciously valued contributors to well-being and so to create a community that can Care for All they need to be part of what we want to create as we think forward.
" If I had understood these ideas before I could have been a lot more effective. In previous jobs I have usually been left to get on with it. Now I have a framework that helps me know what I am doing and why in my work with complex young people and their families" Jenny, Family support worker