Friday, April 12, 2013

Judging What You Don't Know...

This is a little bit off topic from the usual Suddenly Mummy fare, but I recently got a new social worker and something she said has been knocking round in my head so persistently that I feel I must blog about it in the hopes that getting it off my chest will get it out of my head!

It was the first time we had met.  She sat in my lounge watching a news report about changes to benefits that happened to be playing on the TV.  Then she said, "I've got to be honest with you, I've got no time for rich people.  They just sit there with all of their money and do nothing to help the poor."

Putting aside how inappropriate it was for her to say such a thing in the course of her professional duties, I have to say I was really offended by it.

To explain why, let me tell you about my awesome Mum - I'm sure she won't mind.  My Mum comes from a working class family and grew up in a two-bedroomed terraced house with her parents and two brothers. While she was still school-aged, she fell pregnant, at a time and in a place where that sort of thing was just completely unacceptable.

I'll gloss over what happened immediately after, but basically, she eventually found herself alone, penniless, and a single mother, barely into her twenties.  And when I say penniless, I mean she couldn't afford to buy coal to put on the fire.

So she did what she had to.  She went out to work.  Some years later, she married again, and I came along.  There was still no money, even though my Dad worked.  We lived in a council house and my Mum made our clothes, made our bread, and made an awful lot of meals out of potatoes.  In short, she made do.

When my parents made the decision to improve their conditions, it simply meant more work.  They took turns to get an education while the other one worked and worked and worked, evenings, weekends, whatever it took.  My Mum scrimped and saved from awful, demeaning jobs so that we could go on a camping holiday each year.

Eventually, both my parents qualified as teachers, but my Mum couldn't get steady work in the FE teaching she had trained for, so she took another risk, and applied for a job that was unlike anything she had done before.  She got it, and then she worked and worked and worked in that business to make a success of her role.

Because of my parents' hard work, my upbringing was pretty cushy actually.  Yes, there were times when I was very young when there wasn't enough money, but I don't remember that.  What I do remember is how hard my Mum worked so that I could have all the benefits that she didn't have.  I have the life I have today because of the hard work that she did.

As I became an adult, my Mum entered a new phase in her life.  She gave up her job, re-mortgaged the house and with her husband, she started a new business.  She didn't pay herself at all for the first year, and she worked and worked and worked, even completing an MBA.  They made a success of that business and provided many secure jobs for local people.

My Mum is amazing.  Even though she has taken some hard knocks, she has refused to sit around wasting time having a massive pity party about how unfairly she has been treated, and demanding that 'someone' do something about it.  She has always assumed that it is up to her to make her life what she wants it to be.  Everything, absolutely everything she has, she has earned by sacrifice, detemination and hard work.

Now she is retired and, by some people's standards, she'd be called rich.  And because of that, my social worker would have no time for her.  That's the Social Worker's loss I reckon.

14 comments:

  1. What a massively inappropriate thing to say and extremely ignorant and prejudice of her. I wonder how you are getting on with her, comment aside, I hope it has not affected things too much. Glad you got it off your chest and shared it on the weekly Adoption Shout Out. x

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    1. I know! It did put me off her a bit at first, but actually, we've met a couple of times since then and she is really nice, so I guess I have to learn not to make snap judgements as well! :)

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  2. While I disagree with her view, on a personal level she is entitled to think what she likes. What she is not entitled to do, is share views like that while wearing her work hat. In my work life I keep my views to myself and my opinions neutral as I believe that is the professional way to behave.

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    1. You're so right Sonya. I was a teacher for years and it was the same in that line of work. Now as a foster carer, if possible, it's become even more important to keep my personal opinions to myself.

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  3. P.S popped you on the new Facebook Page as well...
    https://www.facebook.com/WeeklyAdoptionShoutOut

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  4. How unprofessional of her to make such remarks. Much better to have kept them to herself. I hope it doesn't affect your relationship with her.

    Thanks for linking up to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out x

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    1. It was an awkward first meeting to be sure! But we've warmed to each other since then :)

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  5. Totally inappropriate but it has to be said your mum sounds like one awesome lady! Good post :)

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  6. That's absurd! I can easily believe she's also got strong opinions about poor people sitting around letting the state pay for them... judging people by their perceived resources is surely an inaccurate way of going about it... the parable of the talents springs to mind. The guy who had loads of resources but used them well probably didn't have a lot of cash to flash around - he was probably buying an education or developing a business, whereas the guy who didn't do anything with it had it in a nice little ISA... we know who got credited with being more sensible!! It's not what you have it's what you decide to do with it, as your mum did.

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    1. I know, Iona. There's such a lot of polarising comment, debate and media coverage these days, with attempts made to demonise both the poor and the rich. The truth is that some people are kind, generous, thoughtful citizens who enrich their communities, and some people are not - poor and rich alike!

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  7. Your mum sounds fabulous and that social worker sounds awful!!!

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  8. I have nothing new to say other than what's been said already - more mom sounds like a pretty kick a$$ lady! And yes, while entitled to her opinion not while she is in your home, she doesn't know you and she's there in a professional capacity. Booooo!

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