Look at the place they live
I found myself pulled up rather short because as it was explained to me how many of the issues regarding low attainment and even lower ambition levels where I am were due to the place in which 'those' people found themselves.
'Just look at the town and you'll see that they have no roles models,' said the other person, 'Is it any wonder that there's such low levels of attainment? Their families are low-attainment and that's what they fail to aspire from - destined to continue be working class!'
Goodness me, thought I, because I look at the place I came from and no one had been to university from the streets around me. There were no role models with regard to learning or 'bettering yourself' (anyone else remember that oft spoken parental mantra?) and in fact I grew up sounded by a lathe operator, a road digger, a bin man, a window cleaner, a postman and an insurance salesman (door-to-door) all of whom had left school as soon as they could and entered the world of world.
But then I discovered that 'working class' was a state of mind rather than a condition set by the numbers of digits on a bank statement.
I grew up on the edge of the city of London in a place where few had a 'proper' education and where the term 'public school' applied to most of us because everyone could go there! The old joke that my school was so good it was 'approved' (it's a bit like borstal or Young Offender Institutions for those who are too young, or posh, to get the joke).
Look at the number of people who have come out of poorer areas and made good - and I don't just mean because they were wheeler dealers or nicked stuff either. Class and ability will always come through in the end and yet this truism is being turned into a lie by the idiots who peddle the myth that school is all about earning potential and getting a good job.
Education is about maximising the potential of a person - It doesn't automatically translate into higher earning capacity or ability. That said, I'm not telling the truth because I have been in the company of many with good quality school ties who have made it because of the real factors relating to 'getting ahead', namely it doesn't matter if you're thick as long as you are privileged and have friends in the right places. But even then - ability will, eventually, shine through.
I was listening to a female comedian (Josie Long) who managed to get herself to Oxford only to find herself sneered at because of her roots (one of those sneering being a minor royal apparently) but she got on and got through - and this where Jesus comes to the fore because He made time for a poor, ill (and therefore unclean) bloke and keep a rich geezer waiting!
Jesus didn't look at the clothes or listen to the accent or notice the pong (and pong I'm sure some did) but He saw the person and dealt with the needs as they presented themselves regardless of ethnicity, sex, creed, accent or cash!
Look at their families
Goodness me, this lit the touch paper because as we all know what the 'facts tell us:
If you have an alcoholic parent then you'll be an alcoholic
If you are from a home with domestic violence then that's what you'll do too
If you grew up in a single-parent family you'll struggle to be a parent too*
The problem is that parents can hold their kids back and the role models they present can be poor and yet given half the chance the reality is that they won't be alcoholic or engage in domestic violence and the like. Statistics and the results of poor science (if psychology and sociology are to be considered sciences that is) conspire to pull attitudes and behaviours out of hats and by assigning them to people condemn those people to 'more of the same' because of their home environment and geographical location.
Many years back a few of new clergy were visiting a hospice and whilst there bumped into a bishop who was about to retire. Being joy sort of chap he took some of us to one side and told us how, "Even though many people think we're an open organisation when it comes to who we ordain, the reality is that at the very top we're still one of the most exclusive gentleman's clubs in the world!"
Of course the fact that the people he was telling this too were the plebs that he was speaking of in the lower echelons spoke volumes about the bloke and his discernment - and I write this as one who joined as a foot soldier and know that ordination was the pinnacle of recognition ;-)
Can anything good come from ??????
You can insert your own place name here but the reality is that where you come from doesn't determine who you are because all have choices and regardless of what your family did, the caste system does not (well it should not) apply here!
There is nothing that separates us from God's love and there is nothing that stops us from reaching, and exceeding, our potential except us being will to let others be condemned to failure and constrained to 'know their place'.
So here's a plea to Christians of all shapes and sizes of denomination:
Don't ever stand by and let others be condemned or consigned to failure but take up their cause and stand with them and for them because that's what Jesus would have done too, but since He's busy elsewhere He's left this job to us.
So get on and do it!
Oh yeah, happy Holy week!
*Alright, I understand about role models but there are many to be found outside of the family - this one amounts to a curse rather than an observation in my book!