Busy, reflective or maybe both?

As we move into the festive season, by turn I feel overwhelmed and yet reflective too. It’s been a busy and interesting year. I want to embrace and enjoy, but I guess like many others I feel ‘carried along’ rather than ‘in the moment’, many years of practice do not seem to make this any easier.

Families, of course, come to the fore at this time of year. For more than 800 children and young people who have arrived into the country since the clearance of the Calais migrant camp began, many reunited with family members (under the Dublin III regulations) and a number of them being cared for by foster carers or in residential units around the country (under the Dubs amendment to the Immigration Bill) this season will evoke in them a mixture of joy and loss.

For children in care and those leaving the care system the festive period can be a difficult time too, somehow the season accentuates the strengths and challenges that family life brings with it. This was just one of the issues that the Association’s vice president touched on in her most recent blog. I can remember only too vividly my first job in a residential home in London. It was a 24 bed home for children and young people between the ages of 0-18 (now those were the days). The Christmas eve/day shift usually consisted of more than half of the children being taken to their family homes to spend Christmas day with their families. Then by mid-afternoon the mass and unplanned re-return of many to the children’s home, after things soured during the course of their family celebrations, causing upset and anger.

We idealise the Christmas celebrations and sometimes families too, that is a sure-fire path to disappointment and to be avoided if possible.

I am also touched by consistent acts of giving, kindness and humanity, they also seem to become more prevalent during the festive season and for me this rather strange year has taught me that collaboration, giving and generosity of spirit are the way forward – those working in children’s services are uniquely placed to lead in the respect, we are born collaborators.

So as we all face together the coming festive period lets ‘keep it real’, may the busy-ness give way to reflection, humanity and peacefulness – oh and of course … LOVE.

Have a cool yule.

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