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The Big Take Home

Nikky

In the world of conference speaking, people often use the phrase ‘The Big Take Home’ or ‘The Big Take Away’, and almost any guide to public speaking will tell you that all presentations should have one. It’s a perfectly valid piece of advice and I always find it useful to decide on the main point I want people to leave with, even before I start writing a speech.


A friend and I were discussing this concept and playing around with the idea of applying it to aspects of real life - what was The Big Take Home from last night’s dinner, or this morning's trip to the shops, or even your childhood? When it came to this last category, my friend fell silent for a while to consider the question and then told me that she thought the singular over-arching message she took away from her childhood was, “Why can’t you be better?” I found this revelation heart-wrenching. 

She explained that her family had had high expectations of her, so if she got 95% in a test, they wouldn’t focus on how well she’d done, they’d ask her what happened to other 5%. When her parents came to hear her singing in the church choir, they would invariably lavish praise on one of the other choristers, with the implication (to my friend at least) that they’d prefer their daughter to be more like this other child. And she had more stories like this.

My friend wasn’t maudlin about her family, she explained that she’d given up on pleasing her parents long ago, but nevertheless she gave me food for thought. It’s all too easy to imagine our children take for granted that they are loved and supported, that the big, important stuff gets through to them despite any smaller, less positive messages along the way. This may not always be the case.

My Big Take Home from the Big Take Home conversation, was that I need to communicate more readily, more clearly and more often, the precise message that I would like children to take away with them from any encounter with me. Each and every interaction, no matter how small, contributes to their bigger picture and I’m very keen to be part of the process that leads them to have a better Big Take Away from their childhood than my unfortunate friend.

The Best Policy

Nikky

So hands up everyone who made it through all those weeks of lockdown without having a single meltdown…


Thought so. You’d have to be some kind of mythical being not to have lost your rag with someone or other during these exceptionally hard times, and children can’t have escaped being in the firing line. Even though we know they are under stress too, they’ll behave in ways that really push our buttons and make it impossible for us to take that into account. Blow-ups are bound to occur, but when they do, the important thing is how we deal with the situation afterwards.
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Being The Bigger Man

Nikky

Not everyone has been disappointed about being unable to have the family over for Xmas. As part of a get together on Zoom  over the festive season, where I knew only a few of the attendees, one woman was sounding-off about how thrilled she was to be able to avoid her in-laws this year.

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I've Got a Bone to Pick With You...

Nikky

When I was a little girl, these were the words I dreaded hearing coming out of my mother’s mouth. They always heralded a difficult topic, and were a signal for me to be on my guard. Mostly, whatever it was Mum wanted to talk to me about was never as bad as I had imagined it might be.

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Hard Words

Nikky

When life throws challenges our way, it’s always difficult to explain to the children in our lives what is going on. Whether it’s illness, death, divorce or addiction, our instinct is to protect the young, and this is in conflict with our need to be honest with them.

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