The Knock on the Door is a biographic account of my experiences in the care system as a child and young person. I am now a Primary School Teacher in Wales, and I hope that this book will prove useful for other teachers, social workers, practitioners and those with direct experience of the ‘looked after’ system. The following extracts offer an insight into the book and its themes and my journey.


Like gunfire, a trigger can happen anywhere, anytime. In the local Starbucks when I see a mother and her son. Trigger. When I speak to someone and they are only half listening. Trigger. When I sit around a family dinner table. Trigger. When I drink too much beer and can’t stand up. Trigger. The feeling that you’re not enough. That your voice is not heard. That you don’t belong. The inability to express yourself. That was the story the inner child was given. It’s all I know. This idea is not unfamiliar though is it? It is in the comparison you experience when you open social media. The feeling that you don’t belong.


You can learn a lot from a mountain. On Saturday, we took a trek to the Brecon Beacons to climb Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales. All 886 meters of it. Half way up, we took rest and cracked open a can of lemonade. Feeling the icy breeze, I began to think. In life, we are all climbing a mountain. The further up we climb the higher and more intimidating the drop. Your mountain is unique. It is yours. Some mountains are steeper than others. Some have a clearer summit. Some are rosy. Full of thunder. Some foggy and full of mist. Some are not mountains at all, they are hills that have a cable car to the top. Some people have a tribe to carry them up their mountain. Some don’t. Some have mountains made of butter. Some have big rocks in the way. Some climb half- way up and fall. Some take a lifetime to climb their Mt. Everest. Do not compare your mountain. Take ownership of it. What I find frightening about life is that whilst we are climbing, we can’t see the summit of our goals. Though the father we climb, the more of the path is revealed. Like a car in a dark lane, the headlights reveal the path ahead, as long as the car keeps moving. Keep moving forward. Keep climbing. Never give up. Be resourceful. Be kind. Know that it’s ok not to know. Know that you are loved. Take responsibility. Take action. Take a break. Be spontaneous. Be dedicated. Be grateful. Meditate! Do Yoga. Write it down. Focus on now. Express it through music. Be you. You can’t be what you can’t see. So shed light to others, and hold their hand.

Sam Gardner


Gardner, S. 2019. The knock on the door: a candid reflection of being a child in the care system. Available at Amazon