Becca Carr-Hopkins and Andrea Howe met by chance at a TMLP classroom in London. Andrea was visiting from Washington DC, and thought it would be fun to experience TMLP in a foreign country. Becca, one of 53 London TMLP participants, stood up at one point and shared about her Game in the World. In an instant, a global connection was created: both realized they were using technology to transform difficult step-family dynamics into experiences of relatedness and love. What followed was a blossoming friendship, as well as a shared commitment to make a difference for step-families all over the world.
Becca hatched the idea for Step by Step at her second TMLP weekend in November 2007. Her relationship with her soon-to-be step-daughters — Olivia, 13 and India, 9 — had taken a nose dive and Becca saw that weekend just how numb she was; in fact, she realized she’d given up on things being any different. The girls had decided they wouldn’t be coming to the wedding (Becca’s to their dad), and they were increasingly reluctant to come and visit on the weekends.
Standing in the possibility of Love and Communication, Step by Step was born. Becca and her partner each have two children from previous relationships. Becca’s ex-husband had already remarried, so her biological children had a step mum, step grandparents, and step aunts and uncles. In a conversation with her ex’s new wife, Becca saw a common ‘what’s so’ with being a step mum that just doesn’t get talked about. “Lecia had felt rejected by my kids, just like I had felt rejected by my partner’s kids,” Becca recalled.
Furthermore, Becca discovered that the children were facing common challenges. “It turns out that my kids had had the same stuff going on as my partner’s kids, my sister’s kids and my friend’s kids,” added
With the childrens’ encouragement, Becca created Step by Step: an Internet-based resource for step-family members to share their experiences. “The kids decided they wanted to build a website so that other kids around the world could find out what being in a step family was like and be reassured if they were worried.”
The website www.stepbystepguide.co.uk was built by a family friend and went live on 15.2.08, and now needs to be developed further. It features stories and poems written by 15 kids and adults, all part of or connected to Becca’s family in some way. The site also includes a family tree that depicts the connectedness between all family members.
Becca says, “The best part of all of this was the extraordinary conversations we all had in our families about being in a step family. The things that were said were not always easy to hear, but all of the conversations took our relatedness to a whole new level and were absolutely magical to be part of. I was left feeling very proud of our kids, and present to how great they are and what an extraordinary family we have created.”
The kids have also gotten a huge amount from being part of the project and seeing their work live on the internet and could be heard exclaiming, “Yeah we did it”, when they looked the site up.
What’s possible in the world as a result of Step by Step? “Aside from Olivia and India choosing to come to our wedding – a miracle in itself — our kids got to experience themselves as young people that can and do make a difference, now.” says Becca.
And what could you build with that?! A new Team Game of course…
– Becca Carr-Hopkins, Team London
To read about what Andrea Howe created around step-families out of her partnership with Becca, check out this previous Team Leadership story.