“Words are containers for power. You choose what kind of power they carry.” Joyce Meyer

One of the most powerful gifts we have are our words. What we say and more importantly, how we say it, has a huge impact on those we speak to.  We can all remember the last kind word we were told.  Equally, and probably with more clarity and often lasting back years, we can recall the times when words have wounded us deeply.

How many words do we say per day? We speak so much drivel hourly, yet when either consciously or subconsciously, we say something that has the power to hit home to another person, that is when our words can become harmful to the recipient if we do not judge our actions carefully.  Of course, there are times when we ‘just need to get it off our chest’ for our own sanity and mental health, no one disputes that inherent need within us. What leads me to write this blog is how our words impact on the young.

Writing as an educator for over 20 years, I am aware of the need for teachers to take heed of how they speak to their pupils. Over exuberant praise becomes meaningless when words like ‘amazing, brilliant, fantastic’ are used in abundance.  They are great words but only used with personal feedback; something specific to that pupil will rise the chest and light the smile.  Much more than throwaway praise is the realisation that negative comments can be lethal if delivered in the wrong way, by the wrong words and wrong tone.  It is these words that do the damage and can sow the seeds of self doubt within the individual.  

Educators must learn the skills of communication.  It is not a given.  Knowing how to impart positive and more importantly, negative information takes understanding of the person, their capabilities and vulnerabilities what their focus will be on.  Phraseology is a life skill. I shudder to recall some of the conversations I have overheard between teacher and pupil over the years.  In this age of increasingly progressive action towards catering for the mental wellbeing of our students, this is one thing that must be considered.  

Learn how to speak – listen to those who can, tailor your voice to the situation, create a suitable environment with your body language.  Empathise with the receiver. Once you say it, you cannot take it back. Make every word count.

“Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.” Robin Sharma

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY


Sometimes Football Gets It Right!


Sometimes my passions entwine. This blog is one of those moments.  There has been great press interest in my football club, Brighton and Hove Albion, over the past season and even more so now as us as south coast wannabees dare challenge the might of the ‘sleeping giants’ of Newcastle United for the Championship title. Our squad was not bought with mega bucks from payments due to being in the Premiership, nor do we have any big name egos amongst our cohort. What we do have is togetherness. We seemingly have the wellbeing of individuals and the team as a whole as equally important.  

This attitude has been well documented through the horrific events of the Shoreham Air Disaster of 2015 and more recently, with the support network shown to player Anthony Knockaert at the sudden death of his father.  Social media has highlighted the heartfelt respect and love shown by the boss, Chris Hughton and the squad, who unbeknown to Anthony made the trip to France to attend the funeral. It seems that football can be secondary to the team ethic and spirit.  Empathy with how each other feel has bound the players together on and off the pitch, creating something exceptional which does not come around that often – a wholeness that encapsulates all,  from the staff through to the playing staff and us, the fans.  

People often ask why I have such a passion for my club these past 23 years. It has been the love of the game and more importantly, the fight to save my club back in the 1990’s.  The tribal unity of the fans was cemented through our battles; with humour, uniqueness and clarity.

After one of our own perished in 9/11, the Robert Eaton Memorial Fund was set up to raise money to help those less fortunate participate in football, to keep his memory alive.  Many people have put hours into making it a thriving and innovative fund – selfless people making a huge difference.  We also see a rather wonderful fan site on the internet.  It is primarily a site for postings about the Albion, but was the catalyst for the  REMF. If  you also want to find out how to fix anything, where to go for good food… you will be given advice.  For all the randomness of the musings on there, when someone is in pain, in need, cries out for help, the community is wonderfully supportive in a non-judgemental way.  It does not mock, it provides genuine help and those who are able to offer more specific, guided aid, do so without question.  Football gets a bad press, but I feel proud to be involved with a spectrum of people, many of whom do not know each other, but who have such a bond.

Where does this fit with my other passions? Well, with all the much-needed talk of creating environments in schools to cater for those who have mental health issues,  who are deeply unhappy and underachieving,  my club is a role model.  It has not always had money, but it has always had people who care.  People who do not let someone in need go under the radar.  The government will fund training for teachers in secondary schools to help combat this immense problem mountain; let’s see! In the meantime, it isn’t just secondary schools that need this input, with most behaviours set before the age of 14, primary schools must nurture and develop more child-centred approaches to helping children who are struggling.  We need to create environments that have the same approach to togetherness and guidance that my club and its fan offshoots provide.  By taking care of pupils when they are young, passing them through a programme of self-help and support as they grow, we can foster change.  We can create a better future.  Sometimes, football isn’t just about earning the megabucks.  We can learn!


“Everyday in a hundred small ways our children ask, “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?”  Their behaviour often reflects our response. “

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY


Surviving Childhood – We can help with the HAPPY!



WAKE UP! It is a new year, but our attitudes are generally still back in the past. This new world is fast-paced, it is full of demands, it has immense pressure that our young people of today cannot deal with effectively on their own. In fact, if we ignore the change that has occurred and is indeed occurring, in the way children experience their everyday lives, we will be storing up a pressure cooker for our leaders of the future.

Schools and colleges are slowly beginning to realise that what we have always done is no longer the right way, but the push towards helping our young people cope with their emotions is very hit and miss. Like so many services in modern Britain, where you live, what type of educational establishment you attend and their budget will often dictate the support network you will access.  Yet another postcode lottery. We are playing with growing minds, minds who are shaping their futures, but worryingly these days, minds who have to deal with so much more than I ever did back in the 80s.

All my peer group bothered about was fashion, if you could call what fingerless illuminous glove colour to wear with which socks and how much sun-in to spray in the hair, fashion! This was just the beginning of the branded clothing must have and not an issue yet.  We were not surrounded by drugs, we had free choice to smoke or ignore, body image was discussed, but most importantly, we could switch off from the world.  Our bullying was in person, or word of mouth whispers or bundles in the playground. It was not a constant threat of social embarrassment spread like wildfire via various forms of social media. *Takes off rose-tinted spectacles – well that is how I recall it anyway!

Young lives are complex. I would not wish for one second to be back in my youth. The sheer amount of expectation to be the perfect size, look the perfect way, wear the right things, have the latest technology, achieve the best ever exam results, would melt my brain.  Since when did we stop accepting people for who they are? But if that is what people experience on a world stage then we have no hope for changing these perceptions. Unless…  

We have the power to change mindsets for a better future. Education establishments must undertake a responsibility to facilitate this change. Instead of young people getting to the point where they feel the only option is to crash and burn, we can take a step back and give the the tools for life; tools that allow people to cope and flourish whatever they look like, wear and believe in.  I appeal to those in any position of power in education to investigate what you can do to make lives better. Childhood is supposed to be the happiest time of your life, bring back the happiness to our future generations.


“Happiness is the key to life. If doesn’t matter how much you have, what you spend, make, drive or wear. It all means nothing if you are not happy within yourself. Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own.”


Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY


2017 – A Selfie Year


Signposts….they are everywhere in our world. Small, large, wooden, concrete and each displaying information for all to see. Some give indications of where to go or how far to go. The information is tangible and has substance, yet only relevant for the few. How often do you follow the signposts you encounter in everyday life? Probably not a lot if your life revolves around the same routine, the same journey day in, day out. We only truly look when we are in need; when we are lost.  It is much the same for those who are searching for something more spiritual in life.  Many ignore gut instincts – that innate feeling that something is not quite right. We have our own inbuilt signposts that most of us do not tune into. Maybe that is where life goes wrong. How often have you talked with someone who comments. “ if only I’d listened to my intuition, I knew it was not right,” or words similar?  Being in tune with your thoughts and feelings is not a sign of mumbo jumbo or a weakness, indeed it is strength and wisdom.  This time of year people follow the herd and set goals…mostly unachievable, to become a better version of themselves. To lose weight, to stop smoking, to exercise more etc… but most also fail and pretty quickly too.

To achieve change you need to have the correct mindset. In order to DO IT, you need to THINK IT and BELIEVE IT.  This comes from deep within. Any life change that is sustainable has to have substance.

“Life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”

Change is scary. It is the Jack-in-the-Box we don’t dare to open. It is the demon we turn away from. But in a year that follows one of the most tumultuous years in recent history, we owe it to ourselves to make it one that has a positive impact on us.

“ A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Have a selfie year. Be true to yourself and what needs to happen to make you happier. Follow your inner signposts!

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY