• Steve Mortlock

Cracking the wall..


Cracks in the Wall – A Different View..

If you haven’t already read the blog post called “Cracks in the Wall” it may be useful to do this before continuing, this is a follow up to that post but from the view of another of the members of Salford Dadz – Little Hulton, one who feels he played a very, very small part in the dads journey

I’m one of the dads that has been involved with Salford Dadz from the start and I’ll admit it, I was the one that badgered this dad to come along to meet the other guys for months. I’d met him way before Salford Dadz – Little Hulton, or the project from which it came, even began, standing at the school gates. We had sons in the same class as well as other children at the school so seeing each other in passing in the school grounds was quite common. Normally there was just a nod or a few exchanged words of greeting which is pretty normal for me when I meet anyone, but every now and then we would find ourselves waiting outside school in the same place and we’d exchange a few more words. Over time this grew to be something more, a friendship of sorts but one that only really (at that time) existed at the school.

Ok, so maybe I thought that we had something in common, we both weren’t natives both coming from different parts of the country. Perhaps I saw an ally in him, someone who could perhaps explain what a ginnel was or what was meant when someone referred to a grate. I’m not sure that he was able to help, but we seemed to get along.

I could tell that we had totally different backgrounds but that didn’t matter to me. I had worked in IT all my life and had been made redundant from a global management role during the recession and struggled to find work afterwards, even then my life was pretty sorted with little to worry about. My job had also been in the south and although I lived here in Little Hulton, and had since 1999 I didn’t actually know anyone in the area apart from my wife and her family. I needed, like all men to talk to other men and did miss it. I’m not one for going to the pub, apart from the occasional meal at the weekend for birthdays etc and the even rarer escape from the kids with my wife once in a blue moon. I’d never felt the need to have a local that I frequented regularly and therefore didn’t even have the locals to chat to.

So after years of living in the area I was thankful to have another bloke that I could at least say hello to and pass the time of day with, even if the conversations were generally very short lived.

When the project that was to spawn Salford Dadz began I was one of the fathers asked to join by the project staff from Unlimited Potential and whilst I thought I would be the odd one out, being a southerner and all, I went along and quickly started to see the benefits that some of the other guys were getting. I was very happy to play a part in that, I’d been brought up being heavily involved with my local church and helping people was to an extent in my nature, even if I'd not had the time to do this for years. We wanted to grow the number of dads involved and I was sure that this dad would benefit from being involved.

The following months would see me inviting him to come along at any chance I had, I was so sure that what the group were doing would help him. The funny thing is that I didn’t really know what he needed help with, we’d never had any deep discussions about anything but I just had a feeling. He finally gave in and whilst he doesn’t quite put it like this in the original blog he assures me he only came to shut me up and has even said so on film and even more recently in a meeting.

I remember the first meeting (if that’s what we want to call it) that he came to. If I remember correctly, we were still trying to work out how a group of blokes could help each other out and how we could attract more dads in the area to join us. This dad came in and realized that he also knew, at least by sight, one of the other dads which was good, even if he still looked like a cat on hot bricks. He sat there at the table listening, and listening, and listening to the discussions going on and finally spoke. I forget what he said but I know that he and I, even with the totally different backgrounds we had, seemed to share quite a lot of views and approaches.

Fast forward a little and at some point the dads involved in the project were asked if they would have some professional photo’s taken of them for a report being created by Unlimited Potential for their board.

I can’t tell you how much we all love this photo (he says sarcastically) it really sums up the "aged boy band" vibe we have going. As it happens this photo was taken at the end of the street that I live on and having driven there from a previous location I had parked the car on the corner. After having the photo shoot we wandered naturally back to the corner and this


dad and myself were having a chat about how stupid we had felt etc when I suggested having a cuppa (or brew as it’s known here) at my place rather than standing in the freezing cold. He agreed and we went down the street and into my house for a coffee, continuing to chat about everything and anything before going our separate ways, or was it straight onto the school run? I can’t quite remember how many brews we had or even when he left.

And now we come to the point of this rambling blog because a couple of weeks later I heard from one of the other dads about how he had told him about being invited for a coffee at someone’s house. He had gone on to explain how “big” this was for him, the fact that he had been asked and that he had accepted an invite for a brew for the first time in over 10 years and about the impact that it had had on him. If I had been eating I think I would have choked - to me this was normal, this was polite, this was just being a mate, just socializing.

It struck me that such a simple thing, at least in my view, had had such a massive impact on someone and in all honesty I still have trouble understanding how this can be seen as a major thing. I do however I accept it as a truth and try to ensure that I continue to be as open as I can be.

Courtesy, politeness, saying “good morning” to someone on the street doesn’t cost anything does it? A few seconds of time and a few breathes of air perhaps. Maybe the person you pass on the street hasn’t said a word to anyone in days, weeks, months? Maybe, just maybe, your greeting might make their day, make them realize that they are not invisible and maybe, just maybe, it may make them think of saying hello to someone they meet and maybe, that greeting will open up another conversation.

Perhaps we need to think of it not as costing us anything but rather in terms of the value to others that it might have…..


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