Today's blog in the #BeTheRippleBlogs series is an inspirational piece from Jack Poulton.
Jack is a Support Worker at a college, he supports students who have learning difficulties and social and emotional needs.
You can find Jack on LinkedIn: Here and you can also find him on Twitter: @poulton25
Over to Jack:
We Rise by Lifting Others
Hello everyone! Firstly I just want to introduce myself, I am Jack, 24. I have worked at a college for two years, initially as an apprentice and now as a newly appointed support worker with students with learning difficulties and social and emotional needs. I myself have a unique perspective, I have a physical disability. My disability is spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, I was born at 26 weeks. The most important thing is I am here and I am able to tell you my story of kindness.
I have been raised to be very independent and self-sufficient, my family have always wanted me to be independent for my own benefit, which in my eyes has got me to where I am today. I have a motto: 'It’s not about disability, it’s about ability' and I have a positive can-do attitude. This has made me fiercely independent. I am self-motivated as I came out of university with an MA in Physical Education and Sports Pedagogy, so I lived a life where I was around people, but I had to rely on myself to live and achieve in that ecosystem of higher education.
Now I have set you some early background and given you an indication into the type of person I am, I would like to begin to explain the act of kindness:
I had left the familiarity of university and I entered the world of professional employment. This came with my unique challenges as I had to manage my body and energy because the days at university were not as strenuous, so moving to a five-day week was tiring. I have been so lucky with my amazing colleagues around me who have been so supportive on the days that I would feel fatigued, they would give me those kind words of encouragement to give me a lift. They would get my wheelchair and just in general do all they could when I was having tired days. While these are a couple of examples I have given, there have been plenty more.
Speaking from my personal perspective this really meant a lot, and still means so much, that people would be so good-hearted and good natured, and bring such value and friendship into my life because everyone I work with is someone I consider family. This extends to my professional development, as it was my first role I did not have the knowledge yet (the organisation I work for is a strong believer in growth mindset). I was assigned a mentor, the teacher whose class I was in at the time, and they would give me tips on how to improve my confidence and self-belief. While this could be seen as normal practice for many in the workplace, for me I thought it on a much deeper level (typical me). I see this as amazing to be embraced as a professional and supported in this manner, but I see it from how I have been supported with my challenges with my disability. It shows how kind the world is and what a difference this makes to an individual.
Furthermore, the most amazing shift came from my own mind. I would be too quick to say no to help, out of pride, and when I reflect on some occasions, in a roundabout way it came from a place of ego because I don’t want to be seen as needy. Because of my disability I felt like I had something to prove. I have now realised that I was holding myself back in this thought process because help and kindness can bring you along further in whatever you may be doing. I now understand that we all have strengths and areas of improvement (I understood that) but the power of kindness can fulfil you as a person, it brings out the best in people. Now I see that kindness is the most important currency in the world because this is when we are given the opportunity to learn and grow from areas requiring development, for example my mentor giving me feedback, this all starts with an act of kindness.
So I would just like to demonstrate the power of kindness in my change in perspective to being open-minded and seeing the importance of helping each other. I am very lucky because I am exposed to kindness more so in my work because we show our students kindness in helping them with their challenges. The large majority of people who work in education have kindness in their heart and this is how they are able to give this gift to students. The kindness that is shown can change the students’ lives, they are able to progress and grow as people. We are able to receive kindness from our employers as they, on the most part, show kindness and understanding to our learners and also make reasonable adjustments. This is law but if we peel this away, the act of understanding is decency and kindness.
So I hope that everyone sees the power of kindness from the perspective of a professional with a disability and how I receive a sea of kindness that flows through me like energy and power and pushes me forward - and with this water-like energy, it flows from the heart to give my best for the learners.
“We Rise by lifting others”
Thanks to Jack for sharing this inspirational piece.
I love Jack's take on kindness, that it is the most important currency in the world - absolutely beautiful and, in my opinion, so very true.
The piece is a reminder of the power of kindness in touching the hearts and minds of others, in helping people to develop themselves and have self-belief, and in building positive relationships with colleagues and customers (in this case students). As Jack asserts, kindness can give us energy, and that energy goes on to flow from us to someone else, making ripples with every interaction.
Thank you once again to Jack for this lovely piece.
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