There have been so many people who have been an inspiration to my work: not all of them having websites or LinkedIn profiles but it is the ordinary people, the children, the unexpected conversations and sharing which have helped hone what I do and who I am. To each of them, I am so very grateful as we stand together, swimming upstream and helping each other go higher in the service to children.
Then there are those who have dedicated their time to this field: writing books, lecturing, creating podcasts. These people are my teachers on this path and I gain inspiration and instruction from them.
Dr Bruce Perry – his work on trauma and relational perspectives to recovery shape all the work I do. He talks about the 6 R’s – when a child presents with a difficulty and we adults are stuck, I go back to these and ask myself, ‘how can we become more relational (safe), relevant (developmentally-matched to the individual), repetitive (patterned), rewarding (pleasurable), rhythmic (resonant with neural patterns) and respectful (of the child, family and culture)?’
Louise Bomber – a teacher and educational psychologist, she is one of the first people I heard about in the UK who introduced therapeutic concepts to the world of education. All of her books are a must read!
Dr Heather Geddes – she applied the principles of Bowlby’s attachment theory to the classroom, giving a concrete method to help those struggling in the classroom. I use the triangles of relationship between teacher and task a lot in my work to help find practical solutions.
Dan Hughes – in my office, I have a big cut out of P.A.C.E. which reminds me keep the child at the centre, remain Playful, show Acceptance, remain Curious and be Empathic. The children have never asked what they mean but keep me as focused and real as possible and remind me how I am in service to them.
Darren McGarvey – I have lived and breathed a middle class life and have no real understanding of poverty and the impact. ‘Poverty Safari’ has given me an introduction in to how even words on the page can seem to sneer down at you. For anyone in service to young people who perhaps live in poverty, this is a must read.
Charles Eisenstein – his work on ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.’ I admire his humility, courage and willingness to question the status quo.
Graham Music – writes a fantastic blog which distills key concepts in attachment theory, neuroscience developmental psychology and cross-cultural studies. His new book, ‘The Good Life’ makes sense of how our moral selves take shape.
And then there’s the music: