In my early years I was told that I was ‘just a child’. Implying, “what would you know?” or “remember your place.” As I grew I was described as ‘just a teenager’. Meaning; ‘This explains why you are the way you are’.
Is it any wonder that I grew up being ‘just’ who I am? When I rang my husband’s work and they told me that he was on another call, I would quickly say … “Oh please don’t bother him, it’s ‘just’ his wife”. When I took time off teaching to raise our children and was asked if I had ‘outside work’ or if I was ‘just a mum’, I was often too tired from all that went with being me, to argue the point.
Well social media has given me a voice and here and now can I ‘just say’ that no one is ever ‘simply and only’ anything.
A child is a person. A person who can think, imagine, create and learn. Children are unique individuals who are here to make a contribution to their world however large or small it may be. They may be physically vulnerable and emotionally fragile – which means they need to be treated with kindness and fairness – but watching them make new discoveries and helping them to unleash their potential is an exciting privilege for any adult who has the good fortune to spend time with them.
We don’t say that someone is a ‘typical person’. Where does the expression ‘typical teenager’ come from? It is usually used in derogatory way. Being a teenager is different for everyone. For some, dealing with the influx of all the hormones, can make life difficult, which may be described as being, ‘just a teenager’ – others seem to sail happily through without too much trauma. Are they not also teenagers?
Now to me; ‘Just a wife’, ‘just a mum’, ‘just a Dip. Teach’, ‘just a temporary teacher’… Are these fair descriptions? Please be fair and ‘just’. Don’t be self-important and dismissive. Please value people for all that they are.