It's funny how it happens sometimes, you experience such extremes of behaviour in one day…
This morning I was at a prayer meeting for a local mission initiative set in an area with many needs. One of the key people there is always keen to note that we should use language to describe the area and the people there in a positive light. It would be very easy to describe the area in derogatory terms, doing it down and with it the people who live there. I love this attitude as it shows a real depth of compassion for the people regardless of circumstance, social standing or ability.
and then this evening, the opposite….
a little while ago, I came across a tweet referring to Gemma Worrall, the young beautician who had referred to 'Barraco Barner' in a tweet last week and subsequently been slated on social media for her mistake. I have followed this vaguely via twitter but what has really got my goat is this article, tweeted earlier this evening.
In it Toby Young cites the fact that Gemma has 17 GCSEs and that he is speechless, implying it is unbelievable, he then sets into a rant about Labour's previous policies on education. Well, running a free school he had to get a political education angle in there somewhere, didn't he. I am so incensed by his attitude that anyone 'like her' doesn't have the potential to get a good education, or that it matters that much anyway.
I went to both state and private schools growing up and my kids are experiencing the same mix. There are of course pros and cons to both. But above all, what I want for them is that they will come out the other end of their education as well rounded individuals who have both the determination needed to go where they want to and do what they want to do, but also the love and compassion to do so with integrity and honour. Good memories of school would help too! If they want to be beauticians, mechanics, cleaners, I don't care, so long as they are happy.
You can throw muck, call people names, slate them, but at the end of the day what does that make you? Bigot? Name-caller? nasty? what I do know is that Gemma Worrall seems to have handled this whole episode with good humour and a great attitude, which is more than can be said for all those throwing insults around.
And aside from that, you can call her names, but at the end of the day, we all need people like Gemma, people who do jobs that they love even if they aren't the best paid or need the best education. Beauticians do lots of things but the most common denominator would be haircuts I guess - and I bet everyone calling her names uses a hairdresser quite happily…