I found myself using this analogy last week as I spoke to a number of young people at a school in Kent. I asked them to picture the scene of driving from Kent to Cornwall with a flat tyre. It was the negative impact on the wheel that I wanted them to think about. In the same way young people with deflated balloons can find life and all its challenges as wounding to their core. I am a real believer that we all have something that can put air in to our balloons and that when they are inflated we are that much more resilient to the knocks and challenges that might face us.
So my plea to educators and pastoral leaders is to find an area where an individual can really flourish and thereby aerate their balloon rather than limp through life getting increasingly wounded. Whether it’s embarking on crazy adventures or simply taking up dog walking, cooking or DIY, the list is long…. When they ‘can do’ something this really helps when taking on things they find so difficult.
My heart cry, certainly to those in independent schools is for tutors and pastoral leaders to bear this in mind and to take time to observe their tutees in these fabulous school facilities and with these wonderful opportunities. It’s all to easy for schools to simply focus on marketing themselves with what they’ve got and what they do.