My daughter made me cry this weekMy daughter made me cry this week https://www.citizenme.com/public/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/dali-metamorphosis-of-narcissus.jpg 1200 1000 StJohn Deakins StJohn Deakins https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/67e7ca4885d1b922783ca3a83741a282?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Yes, I cried when I read what my daughter had sent me this week. And I wasn’t sure why.
The writing is beautiful. It is a short, poignant description of a very human moment in a First World War trench. An assignment from her English teacher to “describe this picture” (a WW1 trench), written so emotively that it was shared with the school as a model answer.
So, I’m a proud parent? Yes of course, but there’s much more to it than that.
My tears were also selfish. My daughter’s prose had a few mistakes – she sometimes finds spelling hard. However, the teacher saw beyond this and praised her amazing creativity.
Thirty five years ago, a dyslexic boy at a conformist Catholic school also loved writing. And failed at it, consistently. School years were a rash of red lines dashed through the spelling mistakes that littered badly scrawled prose.
That boy was, of course, me. I was given a choice: join the special needs class (and leave school at 15) or “soldier through”. So, of course, I struggled on and just about scraped into University. I’ve ended up doing OK in life; in fact, I’m very blessed.
I’d forgotten most of this until very recently. I ignore it. Even writing this feels self indulgent. My daughter’s essay hit a nerve. Her teacher is wonderful, and as a society we’ve come a long way.
It was all the more moving as this week has also been world mental health week. I watched two powerful documentaries telling the personal mental health stories of two actors: one, featuring David Harewood who has recovered and achieved fame; and another, centring on Tony Slattery who has continued to grapple with mental health and addiction issues for 30 years.
At CitizenMe our purpose is to help humanity to flourish by understanding themselves better through their data.
Mental health problems typically start in youth; early intervention through personal insight into how our minds work gives us all a chance to have maximum personal and social impact for all.
Therefore, in the June, we will reduce the minimum age for CitizenMe from 16+ to 13+ and redouble our efforts to provide people of all ages with the knowledge to help them flourish.
StJohn founded CitizenMe with the aim to take on the biggest challenge in the Information Age: helping digital citizens gain control of their digital identity. Personal data has meaning and value to everyone, but there is an absence of digital tools to help people realise its value. With CitizenMe, StJohn aims to fix that. With with a depth of experience digitising and mobilising businesses, StJohn aims for positive change in the personal information economy. Oh… and he loves liquorice.All stories by: StJohn Deakins