Those of you who know Tiddles will probably be interested to know that he had a really positive time on both his work experiences. His first week was at the RSPCA, working in all areas and having chance to talk to the inspector. He learnt things about doing repetitive work as carefully as the interesting stuff, he learnt about not going out in the evening if you’ve got to be up early next day ( ! ), he learnt about making his own lunch and arranging his own transport, he learnt about the importance of health and safety rules (even if it is a bit ridiculous that a boy who can shear a sheep and who drives, feeds and milks the cows isn’t deemed old enough to hold the lead when walking a dog!). He fell in love with ferrets, an animal he’d never liked before, and the lovely one-eyed, deaf cat called Belle who cannot be rehomed. And he learned that if you have to put a presentation together about your week’s work, it isn’t a good idea to leave taking the photographs all for the last day!
I was very impressed that he wrote to thank them for having him there and, even more so, that he set himself the challenge of baking them a cake for his last day there!
His second week was spent at the Hospice. He’d wanted to work there originally when he’d been thinking of going into nursing and decided that he’d go ahead with the work experience, even though he’d decided he wanted to work with animals in preference to people… just to make sure, like.
It was a doddle of a week in some respects. He didn’t have to be there until 9.30 am and finished at 3.15pm. And he wasn’t able to work in the wards, so was just doing the job of a volunteer in day care, making teas and coffees and keeping the patients company. (We made the most of his short hours, however, by finding plenty of jobs for him to do helping his uncle with the DIY jobs before and after work!) But he learnt things of far more value. He learnt that he brushes up quite nicely and looks really rather grown up and cool in a shirt and slacks. He learnt that he has a skill that not many teenagers have, that of talking to people clearly and making eye contact and actually taking the first step to talk to someone even though feeling a little shy. He learnt that he has loads to offer people who are weak and needful of help, that he is sensitive to their needs and enjoys meeting them. He learnt that working with people is actually more to his liking than with animals and that he’s determined at least to volunteer at the hospice during his holidays. And he learnt that he misses his grandad more than he actually realised.
He also learned that it was not just mummy boosting his confidence when she told him that he is skillful with people but also a skillful photographer. He took some of his photographs in for the art teacher to put in their folder of pictures and also a framed one to put in the raffle, and was astounded at the enthusiastic reception of them.
My son grew a good two inches in stature over the fortnight. Standing tall, confident, high in self esteem. I am a proud mum, regardless of the trouble he’s caused. He’s a smashing lad.