Imagine that one day someone you love and trust says to you “today you’re going to a special place where you will have to stay on your own. You’ll really like it and it will help you get ready for when you go into your care home in a few years. You’ll soon make friends ”
And then imagine you are taken to the front door of a building you’ve never been to. Someone you don’t know takes you away from your loved one, takes your coat and bag away and hangs it up. Maybe you don’t want to be there so you ask for your phone so you can call someone.
Imagine being told you can’t have your phone or your bag or your coat. Imagine being taken to a room through a door which you can’t open. In the room are big, strong people who are in charge. And lots of people you don’t know who have been brought there to the big, noisy place
Imagine the big, strong people saying that today you are all going to learn to play the piano. You have to do this because soon you will be in your care home, and when you get there… then everyone needs to be able to play the piano. It’s just something you have to do.
Maybe you don’t want to learn the piano. Maybe you say “no, I don’t want to”, but the people in charge tell you need to do as you’re told. Maybe you’re a bit scared of learning the piano so you start to cry. But the people in charge say “don’t be silly. It’s only a piano.”
Maybe you’re worried that you can’t do it, so you lie on the floor and hide your head. But the people in charge tell you not to sulk and to come on over to the piano quickly now.
And whether you cry, shout, hide or protest, it doesn’t matter. The people in charge are bigger and stronger. Maybe they carry you to the piano stool and plonk you down.
Imagine they say “now play the piano.” But you can’t, and you’re scared or cross but they insist you play. What you want to do is to leave. Or at least to have your phone to talk to someone you love and trust. But no. You have to play the piano.
Imagine what it would be like if you can’t do it. Imagine the people in charge take hold of your hands, plink & plonk your hands up & down on the keys and say (in a super jolly high pitched voice) “wow you can play the piano. Good job. You’ll soon be ready for the care home”
Imagine all that.
I went on this journey in the early hours of the morning. I lay awake thinking of how to explain a little bit of what it might feel like being a very small, scared or angry child… being made to do things they don’t like or understand…all to get them ready for “big school.”