The Diana Legacy Award

The secret is out!  I am excited, honoured and humbled to have received an inaugural Diana Legacy Award from HRH Prince William and HRH Prince Harry at St James’s Palace yesterday.

Meeting the inspiring young people who also received the award was a privilege and I am humbled to hold the same accolade as them.

The Teach Us Too campaign journey has not been trail blazed alone, and I receive this award with thanks in my heart to everyone who has travelled the path with me;  and I am immensely grateful for the Diana Award for joining me as I seek to be a voice for the voiceless.

[see the day on Sky news and on tumblr]

all award holdersJonathan with HarryPrince William and Prince Harry give Jonathan award 2Prince William and Prince Harry give Jonathan award

 

Study Day, Story and SATs

On Friday, I had the privilege of speaking at a study day for professionals and parents entitled: AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) & Literacy Best Practice Study Day.  Excitingly, there was a whole room of people as passionate about literacy teaching as I am.

Have you ever stopped to wonder what it is like being trapped in a classroom and babysat with hour after hour of age inappropriate activities? Nursery rhymes, songs for everything, sensory materials and the icing on the cake – being talked to in a voice usually reserved for babies.  All of this prioritised above literacy teaching, ANY literacy teaching. The type of literacy teaching that expects learning. When I was at special school I learnt to amuse myself in my inner world, often disappearing off with my best friend.  This was the inspiration behind my BBC Radio 2 500 words story, “Curtains to Freedom”, which you can read here.

Next week I will be sitting my Year 6 SATs. My dream is that in the years to come many children like me will reach their full potential and have the opportunity to learn to read and write.

Will you join me in making this a reality?

 

To find out more about AAC click here

 

Rejoice for Jesus has Risen!

Easter changed everything.  Before Jesus rose from the grave; death had won its victory over mankind, hate had triumphed over love and, in expending himself for us on the cross, hope had been killed.

Easter changes everything.  In the light of Jesus’ resurrection, life is offered in all its fullness now and promised in its completion in love forever.  Hope lives on unfettered by the grave, death’s finality vanquished, love defined and fulfilled.  Jesus Christ is risen today. Alleluia!

[click below to listen to Ian McMillan reading my poem on Radio 2 on Easter day]

Jesus’ Beckon

Part 1 – Death Friday

 

Hounded, helpless, horror uphill,

Mocking jeers crescendo,

Death’s stench, dark in despairing dread,

Oppressing fear’s echo.

 

Piercing soulful eyes fixated,

Excruciating pain,

Hope hanging, subsiding, drowning,

Dignity dies, my shame.

 

Part 2 – Life Sunday

 

Night’s black breaking: light’s dawn dancing,

Hurry quickening feet,

Heady spices; heavy grieving,

Overwhelmed – crumpled heap.

 

Erupting anguish obscuring

Gardener’s playful delight,

Agony’s deep yearning, aching,

Recognition ignites!

 

Exploding joyful elation,

Spirit’s music exclaims,

Touching, soaring – soul suspended,

Jesus beckons my name!

© Jonathan Bryan

 

 

Contagious Generosity

During Lent people often give something up, like chocolate or coffee (my sister was disappointed to discover that giving up school was not an option!) However, we have decided to take small steps to being more generous with all that God has given us. Helped by the Kindness Elves™, who are spending Lent on our bookshelf giving us a daily challenge, we are trying different ways to be kind.

Amazingly, Hannah, from Sugar Films, has very generously decided to help me beat my personal target to raise more money for charity this year than last year, by running the half marathon.  (https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hannahmelia) What will you be giving, or giving up for Lent?

kindness-elves.jpg

Our Kindness Elves™ Christabel and Bertie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Psalm

Celebrating birthdays is such fun, especially when they are your own!  Not every eleven-year-old has their birthday announced on the local news, but I was most pleased with the reactions to the Guardian article I wrote as it took me a long time to write.  On 27th January we marvel as a family at another year together and give thanks.

 

A Psalm of Thanksgiving for Eleven Years

Rejoicing in God’s lavished love,

Celebrating His glorious goodness for the last eleven years,

You have cradled me in the crook of your arms,

Comforting me in the unreachable blackest night,

For some, darkness would have opened the door to despair,

But, your hope-fuelled love gives me freedom to dance life’s joy,

Your serene peace massages my soul,

As I await your call home forever.

Rejoice in God’s goodness evermore – Amen!

© Jonathan Bryan

11th-birthday

Chatting about chat

What do you like to chat about? For me there is nothing better than chatting on the sofa with family and friends. But, can you imagine hearing people chat about you as if you are not there? Or worse still, hearing people say nasty things about your family as if you are not there or part of them. Using a voice usually reserved for babies and toddlers, occasionally when I meet new people or some professionals working with disabled children, I am treated to a charade of high pitched, sing-song toddler talk. Combined with a volley of over-used rhetorical questions, with an answer neither expected or waited for, the result is an auditory over-load.

Why do people talk to us like this? Often it reflects their own insecurities and in the case of professionals the pervading culture with special children.  Silence seems to scare people; silence in conversation is its life-breath.

Wonderfully I am blessed by people around me who interact with me like a ten-year-old, looking at me when they talk and giving me time to respond.  Thinking of my next witty remark and making people laugh is so invigorating.  

Any interaction is better than none, so please chat to people like me!

 

 

Christmas Joy

At Christmas time love descended in Jesus and that same love abounds today.  Happy Christmas!

God’s Grace

Laughter of reunion voices,

Fading through the night breeze,

Secluded in obscurity,

Cry of life – born for me.


Exhilarated exhaustion,

Carved on Mary’s face,

Faintly inklings of foreboding,

Echoing loving grace.


Vulnerable humility,

Divine, dependent boy.

Thousand years of prophetic light,

Lavished blessing – our joy. 


Running feet, gruff country voices,

Shepherds shyly shuffle,

Angelic announcement sharing,

Lost in awe, most humble.


Shafts of moonlight illuminate,

The sound of peace descends,

Embodied freedom sleeping now,

God’s love surrounds, transcends.

© Jonathan Bryan

christmas-photo

Magical Meeting!

Like a student at the feet of his master, on Friday I had the immense privilege of meeting my literary hero, Michael Morpurgo.  Listening to him read my story was an honour I will never forget.  The evening was rounded off with an excellent concert of songs mixed with a compelling reading of Michael Morpurgo’s ‘The Best Christmas in the World’ in aid of his charity, Farms for City Children.  My thanks go to the Make a Wish Foundation for arranging the meeting.

Below is a copy of my latest poem, inspired by ‘Coming Home’ by…Michael Morpurgo!

 

Going Home

 

Go my soul and go my eyes,

Onwards, onwards through fateful times,

Lift me, lift me home.

I must travel on.

Travel on.

 

Beckoning, calling, summoning, coaxing,

Drawing me homewards.

Homewards.

Travelling time on the wings of hope.

Fly my soul. Fly.

 

Anticipate home, yearn only for home,

Traversing on, voyaging on, journeying on.

Soar my soul, soar,

Steady my eyes. Steer steady.

 

Alone with Him in my heart,

Over the youngest years, through the sleeplessness,

She, my soul-mate joins me.

Together, our souls glide on.

Glide on.

 

Eyes sickening, body weakening, lungs dying,

Be strong my soul.

Be strong.

Falling, failing, fading…

 

Eyes glimpsing home.

Safe, warm, free, secure,

Soul’s rest.

Eyes discerning, eyes burning,

Dragged back, hauled back.

Next time.

 

Silence.

Soul’s suffocating silence.

Eyes searching onwards, upwards,

Trapped.

Until, until…

 

…I look out and see,

Eyes discerning, fingers pointing, letters spelling,

Break free my soul,

Break free.

 

Onwards, eyes dancing soul’s beat,

Dance on my eyes.

Beat on my soul.

Home is calling, beckoning,

Soul’s yearning home.

©Jonathan Bryan

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