Oliver and the Organisation Owl

The Wellbeing Stories are aimed at the 9-13 age group and each deals with a relevant issue in their lives. Based on resilience research and combining positive and narrative psychology,  the wellbeing stories offer teachers and parents an opportunity to raise issues with young people in a safe and fun way.  They show that some ways of thinking are helpful and others get in the way of wellbeing.

Oliver and the Organisation Owl is about how disorganisation can spiral out of control and lead to feelings of despair.  It is also about ways to think about how to create order out of chaos.  Oliver has an added complication in his life in that he is living in two homes so is not always able to put his hands on the things he needs.

The negative voices in this story are SoBS – the Sprite of Bad Stories who says things that feed Ollie’s sense of hopelessness and helplessness and the Misery Maker who says nothing but surrounds him with gloom so that all the fun and positive energy seeps out of his life. Things go from bad to worse with Ollie getting into trouble from teachers and not finishing assignments, until his friend Anh introduces him to the voice of planning and order – Organisation Owl!  We all need this voice in our head to help us keep in control.

This story is about children who struggle with getting their act together. They may be able, likeable young people but get into hot water because they are forgetful and disorganised. They do not think ahead, are often late, forget to bring what they need, are untidy and generally disorganised. Some individuals seem to have these innate characteristics but others have the extra burden of managing a chaotic life style. A high proportion of children experience family breakdown and this can cause more anxiety, confusion and distress than is often acknowledged. Many children end up living between their parents, effectively in two homes. This can have repercussions in school unless parents collaborate to manage the logistics. Sometimes ongoing conflict between parents leaves the child to manage the situation on their own.

In this story, Oliver is finding every day organisation more and more difficult. This is leading to a negative spiral in which he is getting into trouble with teachers, becoming increasingly anxious and depressed and not much fun to be around. Fortunately, his good friend Anh who has had some support with some of his own anxieties wants to help. He talks to Ollie about the Sprite of Bad Stories (SoBS) who makes things worse by seeding thoughts of hopelessness. Ollie recognises this. Anh then talks about the Organisation Owl. Although he too exists in the imagination Anh talks about him as if he is real – a creature who can help structure thoughts to create order out of chaos and get back in control. Ollie takes the advice of Organisation Owl and in time things improve – especially when there is a team approach so Ollie is not left on his own managing living in two homes.