True, true, lie - how aspirational are yours?

The ice breaker we’ve all played, and yet when presented to a group of prisoners it was new. As in most forms of teaching, modelling an example is a good way to start.

I put mine on a flip chart and the guesses came and went, it did what it was meant to, people guessed, the ice was broken.

· I was thrown off my Duke of Edinburgh award scheme for drinking

· I was nearly a crocodile’s evening meal

· I got drunk with the Dutch heir to the throne without knowing who he was

On the reveal of the answer, the usual sigh of ‘I said it was that one’ went around the room,

Now their turn, post-it notes at the ready, write down your 3 statements…

Inside the prison walls

What struck me was the blandness of the answers, the lack of aspiration and imagination. Answers ranging from I once fixed a motorbike fuel pump, I played left-back for the Red Lion, I had 3 pairs of blue trainers… Now I know in that room that some lives had been lived and there were tales (legal or illegal) that could have been adapted for the event.

But what I saw was a group of men keeping themselves down.

No grandeur, no aspirations.

Inside a primary school

Exactly what I saw when teaching in primary schools. I’d use a resource called Pobble 365 [Link below] which showed a random picture each day. I’d ask the class to put themselves in the picture and tell me what was going on, no limitations. The tales that could come out were fantastical, scary, funny, forlorn, energetic, action-packed…as I said, no limits. That, however, was from those with a supportive, caring household to go back to, even if it took them a few days to get used to it ( I know some children with certain traits struggled to do this).

The ‘troublesome’ ones struggled, those with the troubled background gave literal answers, could not let their imaginations go.

No grandeur, no aspirations.

What can you do?

As a society, we need to help break the cycle that leads those children to be those men. The children of them to be the next generation. As a teacher, you can mentally plot the life ahead of these children and have a fairly rough idea which path it is going to go down. It was one of these children that was the final straw for my teaching career. A 9-year-old in my class – all of a sudden I could see his life, the path that had bee laid in front of him. I knew I needed to do something, a few months later, Colbe was born.

As a society, as businesses, as people, we can help to change that path, if we really want to.

Ask if you want some help to do it, or if you or your team just need a bit of confidence to do it, but you can.


1. What would your true, true, lie be right now?

2. Have a look at the Pobble 365 link, what is happening in today's picture? Remember, no limitations, grandeur and aspirations allowed.

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