Way back in the day, when I was still at school, a nine-year-old kid wrote to the Children’s TV show “Blue Peter” to ask for their help in “making people or animals alive” (sic).
Specifically he wanted (by 1st March);
- A diagram of how everything works
- A model of a heart split in half
- To know the sort of syringe used for cleaning ears
- Tools for cutting people open
- Tools for stitches
- A fibreglass box (8ft x 3ft)
- A picture of a man showing all the arteries
The Editor of the show duly wrote back to the kid, stating that they were very intrigued in the boy’s fascinating list, and suggested that he followed up with his G.P. to get the first tranche of his required information.
Later on in the 1970’s, a 12-year-old kid from Bradford had watched Britain’s David Wilkie triumph in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal by winning the Breaststroke Gold Medal. Being an “average” club swimmer (but nothing more – his words) he told his swimming teacher that he wanted to emulate Wilkie’s Olympic win himself.
The swimming coach sat the kid down and said something like, “OK – so what would be your first step toward that goal?”
You might know the second kid as Adrian Moorhouse; 100m Olympic Breaststroke Champion at the 1988 games and you might even know that the first kid was Anthony Hollander? Professor Hollander is Head of Integrative Biology at Liverpool University and successfully implanted an artificially grown windpipe into a woman’s body in 2008.
The point? We all have responsibilities; as teachers, leaders, supervisors, coaches, parents, friends and siblings for somebody else’s dream.
These two stories are not about the fact that neither Biddy Baxter nor Moorhouse’s swimming teacher were more important or that they knew more, but that they chose the right response. Anything other than encouragement of what may have been just a pipedream (pun intended), would have killed the dream stone-dead.
What’d You Say?