Attitudes and understanding

Today I went to my local shop to collect a few items I needed. I spent some time outside the shop talking to the young woman who sells the Big Issue. There are often some very important articles in it and this week in particular there were some articles which raised a lot of discussion. I have noticed that the regulars know her name and she knows their names too. But as we chatted she told me about one woman who comes past every week, takes a photo of her and tells her she is begging and should get a job. There is obviously a lack of understanding about those who sell the Big Issue. I had hoped that this type of attitude was long gone but it is still here obviously.

I don’t often talk about my early years or being a parent as there were some very painful times. I remember well trying to feed and clothe my very young children after a nasty divorce. Divorce then was difficult. You had to prove or/and have witnesses before any judge considered you could have a divorce. This was over 50 years ago! Times have changed but I remember having a boss who thought I should not be working because of the children.

So I have a great deal of sympathy for those who are struggling to live a decent life and who are short of money and food and clothing. I was always told later during some training as a counsellor that you could only really understand how people feel when you have been in the same position. This is very true and I hope that the woman who keeps being nasty to the young Big Issue seller never finds herself in such a situation.

We think that things have changed over the years and attitudes to others are much better, but that is far from the truth. You only have to read the news to hear about racism, misogyny and ageism to know that things have not changed at all for the better.

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