The Day I Met a Famous Footballer (And He Smelled Good)

Before I get to the juicy part about my up-close and personal with a famous footballer, I want to talk about emotional resilience.

A bit of a buzz statement at the moment. But for me this is what Yellow Sun is all about. Building up children to be able to cope with whatever life can throw at them.

Life can be shitty.

We know that. We all have problems, difficulties, dramas to deal with. Some more than others.

But it has always interested me why some adults can cope whilst others can’t. Why some Holocaust survivors went on to live amazingly fulfilled lives, whilst  victims of wars have suffered from post-traumatic stress. Yes it’s easy to say that in modern times we love a label but I don’t think that’s the case at all. Some people just have amazing resilience to get on, despite the awful things that they have experienced.

So why? Emotional health is the key.

  • We must build up our children from an early age to deal with disappointment, rejection, and to be problem-solvers
  • Children have to be exposed to ‘it’s okay to fail’ mentality – as long as we learn from our failings
  • Smother them with praise and kindness and let them know how wonderful and special they are
  • Give them responsibility – so that they learn the consequences if they don’t do their job properly
  • Find things they are good at – but also let them know that they must work bloomin’ hard if they wants to succeed
  • Don’t be afraid to change your world to suit them (remember school is rubbish and doesn’t suit our special children)

We can make a difference to our children’s feeling of self-worth

The latest statistics from the organisation Young Minds states that maybe 1 in 15 children and adolescents will self-harm. This is appalling. We really need to stop this trend. These children are our future carers, doctors, drivers, politicians, hairdressers, artists. We need to nurture them and look after their mental well-being from an early age. Otherwise as a society we will lose some wonderful individuals.

Unfortunately there are some individuals who suffer from severe mental illness which no amount of praise can help.

My sister-in-law has schizophrenia. She has been ill for 40 years and there is little that can help her apart from a huge cocktail of medication. Her illness was not borne by lack of emotional resilience but by a bastard bit of biology 🙁

But this week I attended a charity dinner hosted by my incredible in-laws.  Their lives have been extremely  difficult. But out of the extreme bad there has come some good. They set up JAMI, a charity to support people suffering from mental illness. They have literally devoted their lives to mental health education. They inspire me and drive me to be the best that I can be.

And at the dinner I met this wonderful man. (This is the part about the footballer)


Clarke Carlisle and Soli sharing a moment

Clarke Carlisle, a gorgeous footballer who played for a few clubs including Burnley,  QPR, Watford and England, was the guest speaker. He spoke without notes, extremely eloquently about his struggles with depression bought about a deep routed feeling of never being quite good enough. Exasperated later in his career with the agonizing realisation that he couldn’t play in top flight football following an injury. So despite a seemingly perfect life he was deeply troubled and this culminated in him throwing himself in front of a moving truck. Luckily, and quite miraculously, he survived.

He is now using his time to spread the message to look out for each other, support one another and recognise mental health as a real issue.

” We all have health – mental and physical – it’s just where you sit along the spectrum at any time that governs how you live your life”.

Powerful stuff.

(And yes he smelt absolutely divine because of course I went in for a hug……..)

So we can help our children by building up emotional resilience. Give them the foundations and the capabilities to make some good choices.

The rest will be up to them.











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