It’s funny how this week feels more like the beginning of the new year to me than last week did. Apart from fun and festive time spent with family and friends the holiday period was dominated by working on our submission for funds to the Nuffield Foundation. Well, the time has finally come to end the tele-conferences, the amended drafts winging their way in cyberspace between York, Nottingham and London and give the tired old laptop a bit of a rest. Later today Walter will get astride his trusty Kawasaki 550 and carry the precious final document (in duplicate of course) down to Nuffield headquarters in Bedford Square. We are then in their hands and will probably not know the decision until March.
We were sad to see in The Guardian yesterday an obituary for Sir Roger Jowell who died on Christmas Day. His wife is Sharon Witherspoon, the deputy head of the Nuffield Foundation. Our thoughts are with her and their family.
More new beginnings for ‘Zannah who worked hard on two very demanding essays for the final year of her anthropology degree over the holidays. Final tidying up was done, courtesy of mum and dad, over the weekend and a loud cheer went up as she submitted them electronically yesterday. The sense of self-worth and fulfilment Zan is getting from putting a huge amount into this degree (and the high marks and feedback she receives from tutors as a result) have moved our lovely daughter into quite a different place. She is looking forward to modules this term with a teacher she likes and respects hugely and now knows that she has the intelligence, persistence and self-discipline to complete the assignments that will lead to graduation in the summer. All things she did not know before. It is wonderful to witness. We are so proud of her.
Now that the Nuffield application can no longer take up headspace or actual time, the DCN office we will be powering ahead with sending out invitations to members for our national meeting on 17th March. With so much emphasis on genes and genetic connections around we thought we would re-visit the Nature/Nurture argument and title our main session Nature/Nurture: what do we really know? Hopefully a speaker, yet to be named, from Progress Educational Trust will be helping us out with this question, plus reflective contributions from Network families. With 200 adults and probably around 70 children to care for, it’s a huge event to organise and manage.
Also appearing this month will be our twice yearly Journal, sent electronically or by post to all members. In it will be the texts of the three talks on Feeling Comfortable – Building Confidence from our meeting in Leeds in the autumn, a re-print of one of my blogs (NOT Anonymous Father’s Day), an article on whether meeting the donor is a good thing and another on the report that Marilyn Crawshaw has done on our Preparation for DC Parenting workshops.
If we get the money from Nuffield it will be a fantastically busy year. I will be returning to work almost full-time and the office will be run off it’s feet, but we are enormously excited by the prospect as the end result will be a set of films and materials that will bring into the 21st Century support for DC families, children and young people. Also information bringing greater understanding to the professionals, like doctors and teachers, that families encounter.
But in the meantime, I am taking advantage of my part-time status and this afternoon going to see my gorgeous grand-daughter whom I haven’t seen since Christmas Day and whose pictures on Facebook tell me is growing up fast. She really is the best and most wonderful new beginning.