What brings you joy?

The SENCO at my school, the brilliant @novahypno, has a great display in her office that asks ‘What brings you joy’. When children, and adults, come to visit, they can write something on the board. What started as a bare wall is now covered with a real mix of things. There are the obvious food related ones (the new bakery near school would now feature pretty heavily), the hobby related ones like horse riding and the family related ones.

What it highlights is that joy can be a very personal thing. It is linked to each individual, but more than that, it is linked to the specific time in that individual’s life. What brought you joy previously may not any more – not necessarily because it is no longer important, but probably because something has superseded it. Take the bakery for example – it’s only been open a few months and so couldn’t have brought joy before then, but their cakes really do bring joy!

You could also argue that there are different types of joy. I can think of times I’ve experienced joy as a professional – getting that job, seeing a colleague grow, nailing that Ofsted. But this joy feels very different to the joy experienced personally. Getting married, buying a forever home, finding out and then becoming a parent, fortunately on two occasions. All of these have brought immeasurable joy and so different from the professional joy.

Working full time in a job that is demanding can take time away from family. As much as we try, it’s not the type of job you can leave at the door. However amidst all the turmoil that the Coronavirus situation has brought, it has provided a unique opportunity. I am working from home – and what that means is that I am chasing a toddler and helping a newborn during the day and grabbing every spare minute to stay on top of work. But I am at home.

I am spending more time with my family than I would be able to normally. It has allowed me to see things differently. It has given me a new perspective on what brings me joy. Today, on our daily exercise (4 miles with a buggy and a scooter!) on the last road home, my toddler did his usual. He became a T-Rex. Which meant that I became a T-Rex. We chased each other all the way home. His belly giggle when I caught him, or when he caught me brought me joy. As did the smile of an 11 week old when he looked up and saw me. Sometimes, it’s the little things!

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