Being Bettina’s dad
My inspiration for what I do
We had booked into the outdoor activity centre ‘Redridge’ at the end of the 1990s, a place Bettina and I were to visit annually for a number of years where we rock climbed, abseiled, trekked, canoed and even walked up a mountain together.
Over the years we have nudged many professionals working with Bettina out of their comfort zones by persuading them to take risks and push Bettina’s knowledge and skills forward, on the basis that until we do this we will not know what she is capable of achieving.
One of the many lessons Bettina has taught me, that I strive to include in my life, is that no matter what has gone on in her world the day before, when she wakes up to Joyce’s knock on her bedroom door she is ready ‘to go again’
This post is about on being a Dad to Bettina and how it has helped me with my leadership skills and hopefully to become a better leader (and a better person).
With thanks to all those who have liked read our ‘Being Bettina’s Dad’ series on the blog and twitter.
My life is not all about work (despite what some people might think) it is also about Castles, Magic, Dragons, Fantastic Beasts, slapstick comedy, love, romance, Pirates and Sinbad and happy endings. It’s also about surprises, fun and laughter.
During my participation in athletics in the 1980/90s, I modelled my levels of concentration on other athletes such as Sally Gunnell, Seb Coe and Steve Cram, closely watching them prior to races as they physically and mentally prepared for their next winning performance and taking the best bits to build my own model of concentration and focus.
I have just spent a whole week with Bettina in Whitby and being around her 24/7 inspired me to write this post because if anyone is “No 1 and liked by everyone” it is Bettina.
A question I am often asked since leaving the Army to support people with learning disabilities has been, “I suppose getting involved in this work has helped you support your daughter, Bettina with her care?” I remember being asked this question by a fellow Area Manager when we met up for lunch some years ago. I found myself saying, “Actually it is the other way around.”
In the late 1980s, Autism was not as well known or shared as it is today. When it came to explaining the condition Bettina was coping with to family and friends, we often resorted to asking if they had seen ‘Rain Man’, a ground breaking film at the time with Dustin Hoffman.