I am extremely lucky, privileged and grateful to be here in Spain this week teaching on a pilot leadership course for girls centred around Basketball training and life skills.
We are in the stunning 5 star corporate training facility of Gas Natural in Puente Nuevo, just outside of Avila, an hour from Madrid.
Today saw the long awaited arrival of a very fortunate 20 girls and the welcome kick-start session was fantastically facilitated by the Santiago Puebla Sanz, general manager, strategic coach and expert in high performance teams with his company JOINTALENT.
The opening session was a warm welcome and a jtrailer giving the highlights of the upcoming sessions through the week. They were told of a group of children who were very special and intelligent, so much so that they get overwhelmed by all of their mental capacity and find it difficult to relate to others. And these autistic children would be coming in to share a creative workshop with us and the girls were invited to think of any questions they would want to ask them.
The questions were set up as a global cafe style which worked beautifully – and this amazed me because I’ve never seen this leadership tool be used for children.
So this is what inspired me to blog about this today was that the answers that came from these young girls shocked us all in the most amazing way. They were so full of depth, understanding, compassion and kindness that we (the adults) were left with our mouths open in wonder.
The group of girls aged between 8-11 wanted to ask the autistic children:
What are you afraid of?
How do you feel?
What makes you nervous?
Is it easy to make friends? If not, why?
Santiago commented that in that first round of the global cafe, there were deeper, more powerful points than he’d ever seen and that was just round one!
He then went on to dig deeper and enquire to what is it that makes the girls afraid. One girl had the courage to say, “I am afraid of being alone.”
Once again, a WOW powerful silence of presence filled the room. He immediately validated the brave little girl saying, “Thank you for saying that, who else feels the same?” And two thirds of the room including adults raised their hands.
Already creating unity consciousness the group delved into another fear, another brave girls said she was afraid right now because she didn’t know what was going to happen. Santiago again validated her and said he also has the same fear and doesn’t like it when he doesn’t know what is going to happen.
Imagine if all children were validated with such respect and taught that being vulnerable is a powerful strength.
What kind of a world would that create?
Children and adults would not feel like there is something wrong with them every time they felt something uncomfortable and they would be able to talk about it and express themselves freely and extremely emotionally intelligently.
This kind of work is ground breaking if you consider the positive impact it’s creating with our adults of tomorrow.
Another speaker that was coming in is a woman who grew up and lived in the Sahara desert in a very humble way and would come and tell her story. So the girls had the following questions for her:
How did you do everyday things?
How do you get water?
How do you enjoy yourself there?
What work do you do in the desert?
How do you survive in the desert?
Do you ever get bored?
Once again, extreme emotional intelligence with depth and empathy beyond their young years.
I found the session so inspiring and physically uplifting. I hadn’t slept hardly at all last night and was yawning tired. By the time this session begun I was wide awake and so full of amazement, energy and joy!
How exciting to even imagine what will come in the next few days.
Another question was quite fun and futuristic, so there will be a woman from Toyota coming in to talk about dreaming into the future and visioning anything to be possible, so the girls were invited to think of car questions:
Can you make a car that travels into the future?
Can you make a car that flies?
Can you have a car that drives itself and you tell it what to do?
Can you have a car that changes into a cube that you can put in your pocket?
Amazing awesome comments once again and the known imagination of children really comes to a fore here. I am touched by the magical innocence, heart and wonderment that I was grateful to witness today.
Then we all went swimming and now they are playing games on the grass. I will facilitate a calm-down-and-relax-and-let-go-of-the-day Body Intelligence practice before bed time this evening.
So good night and thank you from day 1!