Coincidentally, I found myself in Berlin on Friday…it was a last minute decision which involved Mrs C, Seb (grandson) and myself, flying out to Germany for the afternoon. We left London city airport at 13.15, arriving back at 17.50… just to hear 6 simple magical words.
As I sat on the British Airways plane waiting for take-off my mind drifted back 8 years, to the night I drove home after meeting my only son Ben, for supper.
After gaining a degree at Hallam University Sheffield Ben had spent a further 3 years working bloody hard while living out of a suitcase to pursue a lifetime dream. But within days of qualifying the bottom fell of THE industry, job opportunities dried up, and as the days turned into weeks and then months I watched helplessly as Ben struggled…I mean seriously struggled…as he try to deal with the psychological fallout that resulted from the doors closing on his chosen career.
As all parents do I tried to be upbeat about his predicament during supper but I could see that he was in a dark place. 7 years of hard grafting with no positive outcome had taken its toll and as I looked into his eyes, I realised that my son had lost the wonderful optimistic sparkle that had graced him throughout his teenage life. It was a horrible evening…an evening that would haunt me for many months.
“Look Ben if you have to re-train then so be it” was my only offer.
“Dad, who the hell is going to employ me? They will rightly deem that when the industry DOES start employing again I will be off like a shot. Which is exactly what will happened” Ben reasoned.
I couldn’t argue.
“Dad I’m 27, I have no income; I don’t have a girl-friend; I live in a property that I can’t afford to heat and I am virtually unemployable”. He continued. The ‘unemployable’ bit really hit home and for the first time in my life I had no answer.
The trip back to Norfolk that night was horrendous. I have always supported and encouraged Ben but in doing so all I could think is “I’ve made our son unemployable” and that thought stayed with me for many months and with my subconscious taking control my anxiety and stress levels simply went through the stratosphere. It was a desperately tough time!!
“Sir, can you please fasten your seat belt?” the stewardess politely asked, as she walked along the aisle doing her final checks before take-off. This jolted me back to the moment. I turned my head and nodded at Caroline and Seb just as the 6 words we came to hear came over the tannoy…”This is your captain Ben Crisp”…the rest of the message was a blur…but behind me I heard my grandson tell all those around him “THAT’S MY DADDY”…a huge smile spread across my face and I was overwhelmed with the most amazing feeling.
And this demonstrates just how crazy the human mind is.
Even though there was absolutely nothing I could do about Ben’s predicament my mind didn’t take a neutral stance…oh no…for many months it systematically fired negative hormones, making it impossible for me to think clearly or positively …and had I not called time on it those dreadful feelings and started to fight back then they would have continued to screw up my life with impunity. Why? Because however ridiculous it may seem this is exactly how nature designed the human mind to work.
Like Stuart, although for completely different reasons, fond memories of Berlin will be etched into my mind forever….and whenever I need an up-lift I will just return to that precious moment when Seb reacted to his daddy’s message …