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So James (name changed) has a new hobby! I was sitting in my lounge watching one of the cooking programmes, as a break from football, when James came into the room, after a bath.

He said that he enjoyed watching the cooking programmes. I asked if he ever cooked at home but he said that Mum wouldn’t let him. So I said that we would go out and he could buy some ingredients and cook the evening meal.

So we set off for Sainsbury’s, with masks, for a shop. After browsing and me dropping subtle hints for a simple recipe, James decided on lamb steaks with potatoes and broccoli. He was very excited about cooking and was jabbering all the way home about it. Part of the agreement was that he cleared up afterwards, which I guessed he may conveniently forget. I said that we would start dinner at 6 and he went to get changed, obviously into his cooking clothes!

So 6 came around and I went into the kitchen and got the dishes and utensils out that he would need to cook. The steaks were cooked in the oven and James peeled the spuds and prepared the broccoli. After half an hour we had, what looked, a decent meal.

We sat to eat it and it was very enjoyable. James then started washing up but I let him use the dishwasher as a reward for his cooking. I asked him if he had ever thought of cooking as a career but he said that Mum told him it was a ‘girl’s job’ so he hadn’t taken it any further. So out came the laptop and we sat on the settee looking at catering courses, just to show him what he needed to achieve and the fact that half the students shown were male.

This is one of the most satisfying parts of Fostering, the ability to maybe show young people that they can achieve anything they want and that being in care is not a barrier to being a success in life. So many of these young people have such negative self-perception and it’s heart-breaking to hear some of the comments that they have had to endure regarding their future.

Too many of these young people end up not fulfilling their potential as they consider being in care as block to their career prospects and I always try to instil into the placements I have, that are 14 plus, that they can really achieve anything with hard work.

When I first started training, many years ago, I remember being told that if a young person remembers one thing that you tell them in later life, than you have done a good job, and I still strongly believe that. Too many young lives are being wasted and too many simply following the same destructive path as their parents.

So James is now really ‘pumped’ about cooking. I have given him two of my old cooking books, which were never used, and he has asked me to send of for details of the college courses that would be available, albeit in 2 years’ time.

It’s great to see his enthusiasm for something, other than football.

Blogging Foster Carer Diary.

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