One of my teenage memories of my mum is a strong one. This is some of the history, the back story that you need to know. Because my birthday is bang on the first of September, when I was at junior school it was realised I had started school a year early. The education systems solution to this was to insist I did an extra year at junior school or secondary school. I chose to do the extra year at the end of secondary school, my reasons I vaguely recall was that I did not want all my friends to leave me behind and more powerfully, they might forget or change their minds in 5 years time. They did not!
So after I was half way through year 5 (11 in today’s money) again, I applied to catering College. Even though I knew this is what I wanted to do the year before, I was told I could not apply until the year I would start. So when I applied the next year I was told the course was full and there was no room for me! I was very upset as cooking was the only thing I enjoyed and had done poorly academically at everything else (my dyslexia had not even been considered and I was just perceived as being not that bright naturally or the consequences of a council estate one parent family) . My mum had a different response, she went loopy, hit the ceiling, came down and then went up again. She went straight on the phone to the college and demanded that I had an interview . I think she must have frightened the course director and I was offered an interview, to which my mum came. The outcome was that I was exactly the type of student the course wanted and they offered me a place!
Two years later I was awarded top student of my course, runner up top student for the whole college and had been offered a job as a chef at the Savoy Hotel in London. Where and how might I have ended up had my mum not done that for me? To have intervened, advocated in the light of unfortunate circumstances or unfairness? Who knows? So let’s be thankful to all those people in our lives who have offered this type of support and intervention. Maybe it has been a parent , youth worker, pastor, partner, friend, professional… And let’s continue to model and imitate this advocacy for those who need a voice, an intervention, it’s what my mum would do!