Alistair’s hand shot out and grabbed the last éclair. “Alistair!” exclaimed his
dad “Alice hasn’t had one yet!”
“Owwwrr, go on!” wheedled her brother, “Alice doesn’t want to put weight on!”
Since Mum had been ill, Dad had been setting the rules at home. He was much less firm than Mum; he had been letting Alistair get away with everything.
“I don’t mind” said Alice absentmindedly, gazing out of the window. Her brother grinned and stuffed the creamy, chocolate pastry into his mouth in one go.
“Right, bed time!” declared dad. Inevitably Alistair complained.
“But Dad, Alice doesn’t have to go to bed for another half an hour!”
Alice sighed. It was wearisome for Alistair to be always complaining, but she was just so happy that her mum was getting well again, nothing else seemed that important.
“It’s OK; I’ll go up and sit with mum for a bit.” This was her favourite bit of the day - a chance to cuddle up to her mum alone and talk about the day.
In Footprints they had been learning about their Shaping Space. This was the Space they stood in situations in which they felt both confident in themselves AND confident in other people. A few months ago, Alice couldn’t imagine standing in her Shaping Space. With her mum so ill and people at school picking on her, she had stayed in her Avoiding Space most of the time. But Marta had helped her get her confidence back. Now her mum was getting better and better, she could have confidence in her too! So now, in her garden behind the little green door, she found herself relaxing on the soft, grassy banks of her little pool. This was Alice’s Shaping Space.
The cool, clear pool was a safe and secure Space to be. She could relax dangling her feet in the water, or doze off to the sound of the bubbling spring. It was just like cuddling up to mum. Whenever Alistair started complaining, she found that, beside her pool it just didn’t really matter that much.
If she had been by her Defining Tree (which was already starting to sprout again just as the gardener had said it would), she would have got cross, telling him to grow up and not be so selfish.
If she had been in her Avoiding Space, she would have gone off in a rage.
If she had been in her Adapting Space, she would have worried why he was upset. But, as it was, in her Shaping Space by the pool, she didn’t want anything to spoil her nice, comfortable feeling.
“Everyone should have a Shaping Space” thought Alice to herself one day at school. She must have said it out loud without realising it because Mr James, who was putting up a poster behind her, overheard.
“Well, Alice, everyone does actually,” replied her teacher.
“Then I think people should stay in their Shaping Space all the time! It’s the most comfortable, happiest Space to be in!”
“Yes, it’s very nice,” agreed Mr James, “but do you think it would be good if we stayed in our Shaping Space ALL the time?”
“Ummmhh, well, I guess if you stayed in your Shaping Space all the time you wouldn’t achieve very much.”
“That’s right! For example, as your English teacher I’m glad you have been able to grow your tall Defining Space Tree with your wonderful stories, writing and reading.”
Alice paused and thought. She too was glad she had her Defining Space Tree, especially now it didn’t have to be the tallest tree around. She was also glad she had her Adapting Space allotment, where she dug and planted her vegetables. Without this her garden would be rather dull and a bit.... mean, with nothing to give away. She loved pleasing people with those vegetables, especially now she had learned to choose which to grow.
Later that day she was sitting by her Shaping Space pool with the gardener. “I don’t think that sick plant would have survived unless you had cared so very much about it in your Avoiding Space,” the wise man observed. “You worked so hard fetching water from this pool for it every day. Now it’s fit enough to be planted outside again; have you thought where to put it?”
“I think, I think it should be planted... by my pool! Yes, that’s where it’s best to go.”
“Well, mind you protect it from Alistair’s thoughtless Footprints!”
The next day, at tea, Alistair was arguing again. He wanted to stay up and watch something on TV. Alice stepped in. “Alistair, actually, this time, I DO mind. I mind because I am older than you and its past your bed time. I also mind because mum asked for peace and quiet, not noisy TV. And actually, I think YOU should mind, because we are all part of a family and your footprints are left on OUR Space.”
The wise gardener had been right. She did need to protect the plant if it was to thrive in her Shaping Space. Sometimes, Blue Footprints were just the right colour Footprints for the job!