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To Boldly Go

Posted 11 January 2022

At the end of last year, NASA launched its latest space telescope - the James Webb. Packed with all manner of technical wonders, the Webb has been designed to look deep into uncharted space and use infrared light to help us study cosmic history and discover our place in the universe. In short, it will boldly go and look back at the beginning of time.

As some of us are still trying to stick to our New Year’s resolutions and even more of us are simply looking forward to some sunshine, January may seem a strange time to start considering the past. But it isn’t. Unsurprisingly, the clever people at NASA are on to something – sometimes we need to go back in order to make sense of today and to make the most of the future.

Good or bad, events in our past may affect the person we are today, but they need not define us if we so wish. The same is true for any foster children under our care, although the deal may be more complicated.

Let’s be honest, caring for a child can mean dealing with difficult behaviour. Sometimes really difficult. In the heat of the moment it can be hard to remember that such behaviours may happen for a reason. Thanks to something termed the negativity bias, bad experiences in our lives imprint faster and remain with us longer than positive ones. Big and small negative things can stay with us and hurt. And it is likely a child in your care will have already experienced more than their fair share. Difficult feelings can then be displayed as difficult behaviours.

At this point we are NOT playing down these behaviours, nor are we saying there is an easy fix. We are saying that looking back and realising why something is happening can help you to stay calm and give you another tool to help change the situation.

In the 1970’s, research suggested that it took five positive experiences to counteract one negative experience. Many studies since have found similar. Unpacking this, it takes a lot of positive events in the lives of our foster children to help them heal, but each time you show them love and care it will have a little effect. Positive words and experiences are not a magic wand to wave, but by consistently countering a negative past, you can give a child in your care a good chance to cope with today, tomorrow and hopefully an amazing future.

Which leads us to a final word on the Webb’s predecessor, Hubble. There was Hubble trouble in 1990 when it was launched in 1990 and a faulty mirror discovered. Experts thought it was broken, unable to reach its full potential. Since then, five space missions have added new technology and replaced ageing parts. Hubble may not have worked as expected, but it has proved to be incredible, making over 1.5 million stunning observations to date.

As we all boldly go into a new year, remember in good and bad times that every little encouragement, kind word, happy time and even necessary challenge you give a child in your care can help them overcome past negative experiences. If you want to talk anything fostering, please contact us – we’d love to boldly do 2022 with you.