A risky business

By Cathy Brown, Regional Manger, Midlands

I am the proud mum of Joshua (5 years old) and Alice (3 years old) and for my first blog, and others to follow, I’m going to reflect on the amazing experiences parenthood brings and apply my personal learning to the core principals which drive the work we do at Create.

Firstly, I’ll set the scene: it’s Halloween and I’m taking Joshua and Alice to a Halloween party at a large soft play area. All three of us have picked out our costumes, we have had fun getting ready and we’re off. On arriving at the party, there is a queue of parents with their children waiting for the doors to open. I am mortified when I realise that I can’t see any other adult dressed up. This leaves me with a dilemma; do I keep my costume on and risk the perceived embarrassment of being the only adult in fancy dress?

The dilemma I faced, and what happened next really made me reflect. What would life be like if we didn’t take risks? Is our life truly enriched by us having the confidence and courage to take a chance, to try something new, by putting ourselves out of our comfort zone?

This is something that we do everyday at Create: we form new local partnerships, we challenge partners to try a new approach. We ask teachers, Headteachers and practitioners to have the confidence and courage to try something new, to dare to change the way they deliver PE.

Through Family FUNS we are now extending that challenge into the home environment by nurturing, supporting and inspiring families to change how they play and learn together.

Create’s vision is to redefine what’s possible for PE, Sport and physical activity by creating positive relationships with physical activity for life. We are asking partners, practitioners and families to come on that journey with us, to make small changes in order to develop new positive habits. For a few, this is exciting: they are ready. Others are a little more hesitant wherever there is change there is a perceived risk.

Going back to the Halloween party, I’m still in the car considering my options: take off my costume and blend into the party whilst almost certainly seeing the little sparkle leave Josh and Alice’s eyes, or do I just go for it and ‘inflate’ my costume?

I make my choice and I hit the inflate button. It takes 30 seconds for my giant inflatable pumpkin to be in its full glory, I take a deep breath and I walk across the car park to the queue. I’m feeling nervous. How will people respond to me, have I done the right thing? As I get closer, people start to look at me, lots of them – did I make the right choice?

The first person, someone I don’t know, smiles at me and asks “Did you drive here like that? I guess you didn’t need an air bag!” I feel more at ease. Other people I don’t know are chatting to me. I quite like it now. I have been accepted into the party with a full embrace. As I begin to feel more confident, my friend takes a photo which is later posted on a social networking site. To my astonishment my photo receives nearly 23,500 likes and over 600 positive comments. Friends I hadn’t seen for a number of years were re-connecting with me having seen the photo. I had been given the name ‘Pumpkin Mum’ and there is even a suggestion I should run for Prime Minister!

For me being ‘Pumpkin Mum’ was a truly enriching experience. I spoke with new people, I re-connected with old friends, I have an amazing story to share but most importantly for me, Joshua and Alice still talk about ‘Pumpkin Mum’, so I know it enriched their experience.

Mark Zuckerberg was famously quoted as saying “The biggest risk is not taking a risk… You are better off trying something and having it not work and learning from that than not doing anything at all.” When I look back to the times in my life where I have grown as a person and had experiences from which I have learnt, these are the times I look back on most fondly, the memories that have stuck and the experiences I love to share. One thing they all have in common: I took a perceived risk.

Will you be a ‘Pumpkin Mum’?

Pumpkin Mum facebook