I am always fascinated about people's strengths and how they can enable a person to be at their best, to flourish and to fulfill their potential. This fascination was what led me to research about strengths and how people thrive, so that I could work with individuals and organisations to apply their strengths, in order to succeed.
However, there are times when our strengths can pull us through the difficult times or keep our heads above water in times of adversity. This was brought home to me as I followed the journey that Natalie Trice and her son, Lucas, were on. Lucas is a 6 year old boy, who suffers from Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), which for approximately 1 or 2 in every 1,000 babies with DDH, requires treatment. Not only was this a difficult time for them, but Natalie also found that there was very little information available that was easily digestible for people with little medical experience. It was Natalie's strengths of love of learning and creativity, which inspired her to write a book, Cast Life, about DDH, so that it was easy for people to understand.
Natalie describes the journey that they have traveled, "when Lucas was diagnosed with DDH I was terrified and my initial search for information threw up horrific images and worst-case scenarios that simply compounded my fear. I decided to write a book that wasn't loaded with medical jargon but one that gives the reader the knowledge and facts they need to get to grips with DDH so they regain a little bit of control and power in what can be a tough situation. DDH isn't life threatening but it is life changing and I believe Cast Life offers some of the much needed support that simply isn't there."
For me, the strengths that immediately sprung to mind were the strengths of perseverance, bravery, hope, perspective and of course, love. Love for her son, who has had to cope with a chronic illness from a very early age and hope that there will be a way for Lucas to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Her strength of bravery enabled Natalie to be strong, so as to support her family through uncertain times and to be able to bounce back from setbacks.
I suspect Cast Life wouldn't have been written without the strength of perseverance to painstakingly research the subject of DDH, as well as keeping going after receiving rejections from publishers. Another key ingredient to the book being published was the wisdom from the strength of perspective to, in effect, translate the medical jargon about DDH into simple language that people would be able to easily understand.
Lucas had his latest operation before Christmas and is already back at school and recovering quicker than expected. Throughout, he has shown his strength of bravery to undergo numerous surgical procedures and having to endure the pain and discomfort of his illness. Lucas also has an incredible zest, which is especially evident when he is playing football and joining in at school.
Asked about what was the driving force behind writing Cast Life, Natalie said, "It's really difficult to see your child in pain. I just wanted something positive to come out of this and provide other parents with some kind of solace."
For me the journey of Natalie and Lucas illustrated me the importance of our strengths in times of adversity. Lucas and Natalie's journey with DDH is on-going and it will be their strengths that pull them through the tough times, enable them to cope more effectively and to share much love.
You can find out more about their DDH journey at www.natalietrice.co.uk.