Focus on the relationship

Lisa MillardBeacon Community Services, Beacon Family Services

I’m not ashamed to say that BBC’s Race Across the World is currently the highlight of my week. For the past two episodes I have sat perched on the edge of the sofa –  glass of wine in hand, of course – living through each team’s highs and lows as they navigate their way across an entire continent on a meagre budget.  At a time when we barely leave our homes, watching them take an 18-hour bus journey comes as light relief.   

Though the journey excites me, it’s people who make the show so watchable. Each pair is clearly learning to navigate much more than wild terrain, but their own personal journeys as well. 

Jo is a quietly spoken, yet determined woman in her 50’s. Her travel companion is her son, Sam, who is 19 and forever hungry. Sam has ADHD and clearly needs more support than other 19-year olds. We learn how he has struggled through school, hear about how loves his job and watch as he comes into his own whenever he is engaged in physical activity. Jo is always on hand – supporting, guiding and encouraging Sam. Never overbearing, she seems to know exactly what Sam needs and how to provide it for him.   

It fills my heart to see this mother son duo making so much of their adventure.  The quietly interwoven story of adoption and relationships being at the heart of family has captivated me. Through each episode, Jo seems to realise that making time for, and reflecting on, relationships is the real adventure. When they take time to enjoy sand boarding, it is the shared experience of joy Jo reflects on.  When they stay with a family on a small farm, Jo shares her memory of Sam’s grandfather gardening with him. These are real tear-jerking moments which inspire me to reflect on my relationships.

Relationships grow from a shared interest and shared experience of joy.  As a trained social worker and therapist, I work with many families who struggle with behaviours – those associated with special educational needs like ADHD and the usual behaviours of children and young people. It is relationships, not behaviours, which make the difference as Jo and Sam show us. Busy lives and the pressures to succeed at school often mean parents are struggling to get to the end of the day, week, month or year at the cost of experiencing the joy and connection along the way.      

Our Theraplay® sessions and parent support create space and time in busy lives for parents and children to see the potential of their relationships and experience joy and a feeling of being connected.

To find out how you and your family could benefit from our services or to learn more about our support for families, visit or get in touch with me directly on 0785 9075083 or at