Every family has a story.
Every family has its secret, and there is one in every family.
These phrases can be used in many situations and also be used related to my family, and his name was Fredrik.
In October 28, 2005 (3,5 years ago) I published a blogpost (in Norwegian) about Fredrik and his success of getting out of the hell of being drug addicted, starting his 4 year study to become a teacher, and that he in 2005 received a price as "Årets Læringshelt" (Hero of adult learning).
Next Thursday, Fredrik´s funeral will take place.
Fredrik was very open about his problems and challenges. He was often used as a good example of how to make changes in a life situation even when background and age made many things more difficult.
He presented papers in various seminars and congresses, and from one paper at Riga, Latvia, I quote:
First his introduction:
7 years ago I was a drug addict. It started out when I was 20 years old in 1988. I don’t want to bother you with my sad story. But when I look back now, I can see that one of the most important reasons to why things went so wrong for me was that I really didn’t know what to do with my life. I had no clue at all. I was 20 years old, already an adult, and the only thing I enjoyed was sleeping in the daytime and doing things that was not legal in the night time. I mingled with the wrong kind of persons, and soon I was in deep trouble. In 2001, I woke up one day in a strange bed and found myself committed to a hospital in Fredrikstad by force. I was almost dead. They locked the door, and I felt like they had thrown away the key. But it saved my life. I stayed in the hospital for several years and we started planning my way back 2to a normal life. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure what a normal life was. I knew only one thing for sure. Some years ago, when I was lying in bed very sick from not getting my drugs, I had 2 wishes. The first wish was to become something. To have a plan for my life, a schedule every day, to do something I enjoyed every day. Not having to get money all the time, just to survive. The second thing was; to have a girlfriend, a family.Fredrik did not give in. He really wanted a new life and at last one public NEO officer said:
So, I was recovering well, and I met with the Norwegian employment office (NEO). It was a big meeting. It was 5 or 6 of them and me. They actually told me that if I continued doing well in recovery, I could do what ever I wanted to do. I could become whatever I wanted to become. They would support me all the way. All my struggles through the last years paid off, I was so happy. So I went on with my recovery, and after a while I was offered an opportunity to attend a school.
I went down to NEO again to talk to the women in charge, my new "case handler". Guess what she said. She said; “NO! We can’t help you.
We can put you in a course for a couple of weeks, a work training course and then you have to get yourself a job as everyone else. There will be no special treatment for you”.
I personally would really like to help you achieve your goals, but I have to check it up with my boss. But I will do everything in my power to help you, as long as you do everything in your power to graduate as a teacher. This will be a two way thing. She went to talk to her bosses, and a few weeks later she phoned me. Go to school, she said. We support you for 4 years… It was one of the greatest things that hadIn this paper: Equal opportunities for all. The value of adult learning in promoting equality. The threshold to learning, Riga 2007, he ended his speech like this:
happened to me. Not just the money, but there were actually people that believed in me. I think that maybe this was as important as the money.
Most of the people that are gathered here today is working with something that has to do with adult learning, or having an interests in this field. All of you, in your own way, can make sure that the threshold to learning gets a little bit lower. You just have to have faith in people, believe in them, stand behind them and help them. Help them overcome their fears and their problems. Help them to help themselves!Many people had faith in Fredrik. He got a lot of respect and positive feedback. He changed physically and the way he behaved in family gatherings. He succeeded in his struggle to graduate. He got a job as a teacher.
- Always give people a second chance
- Support the ones, that want to become adult learners, all the way through their education with all possible means
- Don’t always transfer bad experience to your next case. People are different.Everybody needs a chance.
- If you want to help someone, make sure their surroundings of their education are prepared. Help them prepare for learning. They may need more than just a seat in a classroom.
- Don’t give up on them if they fail one time. People do fail you know. Many people needs a second chance before they understand the seriousness of the situation.
- But make sure that they follow the rules. Show them that you care and that you have faith in them!
He was happy - too happy!
He wanted to "celebrate his victory", but his body did not tolerate the drug. He died from an overdose a week ago.
We will remember Fredrik for what he was, what he achieved and what he told us in the end.
Life is fragile.