The Whispering Giant

The Whispering Giant
The Whispering Giant

A giant: an imaginary or mythical being of human form but superhuman size.

Giants have been used for centuries in ancient myths, folklores, and children’s storybooks. From Hercules to the BFG, to the household favourite – The Gruffalo. Together we have all been entangled in their tales. But arguably, the most famous of all giants was Goliath. Yes, the tale of David’s skill and triumph over the ogre Goliath transcends the ever-present message; although large in magnitude, Goliath was defeated by his smaller counterpart, David. Why? Because David knew that ultimately our strength is an inward force unrivalled by size or stature. Clearly a man well before his time!

So, when Scéalta released its Shoulders of Giants series, I knew that I needed to bring David’s courage to the forefront by discussing a mentor, and a Giant that I know well. I’m certain you know them too. Their presence, although subtle, makes a loud noise that can cause you an edgy uncomfortableness under your skin. A well-intentioned teacher, however more than I care to admit, I often find their words too difficult to hear.

To begin, let me explain how I first heard the echoes of this giant. Eight years ago, my beautiful brown-eyed boy was born into a loving community of family, friends, and work colleagues ready to share the joy of parenting. The support I received was immense. So many teachers, openly share their chapters of wisdom. I was lucky, living vicariously through the words of parenting giants. Now let’s fast forward seven years, add a global pandemic, various lockdowns, and my brand new covid baby. This period in all our lives was commonly referred to as unprecedented. So, here is what unprecedented looked like for me. No outward community, no health visits, no work colleagues, no family to visit, just me, myself, and I, and I got to know all three of us very well.

The narrative I heard often, was about the damage that may lie ahead for the babies of the pandemic. But what about the narrative for the babies who built bonds that the outside world and noise would never have normally tolerated. No distractions. No second-hand tainted advice. Just your own intuition on what feels right for you and what feels right for your child. Listening to your child, their needs, and their sense of belonging is a skill that, once cultivated,  can feel masterly. I am by no means denying that the last few years have brought such uncertainty and disorder to many families’ lives. However, it is important to highlight that our covid babies can truly flourish from an early beginning that has been so rooted in their own maternal nest. Earlier in the Shoulder of Giants series we heard from Milica Atanackovic, how Magda Gerber’s work derives from her deep knowing that infants need, “safe, respectful, consistent, responsive, nurturing, attentive, reciprocal, and trusting relationships”. I guess the remarkable irony is that it took a global pandemic for me to find and nurture this loving space. Similarly, if you enter the centre of a tornado, you are guaranteed to find stillness.

Through Scéalta’s Shoulders of Giants series, together we have explored how Sir Ken Robinson’s work inspires children to be themselves. So, let’s continue to lead by Sir Ken’s example and listen to that inner child, indeed, inner Giant, guiding us to “ignite creative magic into our day”. Or let’s take the passion that Professor Bilton uses to channel her unwavering belief that outdoor education and all its benefits provide children with powerful learning experiences.

Lastly, a giant is not always how you imagine them to be in the movies- large scary creatures of fear, but your giant is that whispering voice, your inner giantess, reminding you that you’re doing a good job, that you are good enough, simply as you are. And when you are brave enough to enter the centre of the tornado, I can promise that a whispering giant will bellow.

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