I decided to go to this government forum today. A tad nervous to rock in by myself into this event at the Crowne Plaza, but I drummed up my old acting skills and walked confidently in… looking around, I seemed to be the only person who had come on my own… not really my preference, but I didn’t have much choice (it was a women’s forum to draft the policy for women in the territory) so I think Ben wasn’t really going to fit in.
Anyway I make it past the woman at the desk, who was very pleasant and I thought this is going to be ok, i’ll go find myself a seat. I found a table with only a few women on it, and some of the women only seemed a little younger than me so I thought that I might give it a whirl (I usually sit with older women, as I find they have much better stories). I introduce myself and ask if I can sit down and they nod and ask “where do you work?” Which I reply with “Nowhere”. Well the look on their faces was gold. They managed with one look and a just audible oh to make me feel as small as a linseed (by the way linseed is really good for you) they then return to their conversations as I suppose they didn’t know what else to say. Another lady walks in and decides to sit on our table. She notices I am not talking to anyone and so says Hi, What job do you do? I say a little reserved “I’m a stay at home mum” to which she smiled that wonderful smile when someone is talking a foreign language and doesn”t understand you but is too polite to say, and she turns away from me and asks the other girls “do you work”which they reply affirmative and then continues conversation with them, disregarding my presence once again. I wanted to scream out my credentials to be there, that I have a double degree and some, and tell them all about my experience in every job I have ever done, but I realised that although that was important to them- that did not make me important. I was just trying to impress them, with what? some letters after my name? I actually was qualified to be there without any education. The invitation was extended to “all territory women” to come and have their say about a new policy being drafted for women. ANd guess what? I am a woman, who has happened to stay at home with my children for now. I must say I was close to leaving, feeling a tad overwhelmed when in walks this lovely woman. She heads straight for our table and sits down next to me and begins conversation about how she nearly didn’t make it and was glad they were starting late and then we talk about ourselves. She asked how long I’ve been in the territory and what brought me here and I tell her about Ben’s job and she asks about the boys school and I say I home school and she smiles genuinely and says it is nice to meet me… ah I said and you don’t know how nice it is to meet you!
Whether we choose to work, stay at home, further our education, or what it does not change who we are…. it is a part of who we are, but it’s not everything…
What we value as society can sometimes be back to front. We say that we promote wellbeing and yet we say the quicker we can get children away from their parents the better. Our children are being “nurtured”by people not their own and we are proud of it. The policy was how quickly can we get the women back into the workforce so they can be successful. My greatest success story will be if my children become giving, sacrificial caring people… but I’m easily swayed by wanting to sound important in other people’s eyes…
I never want to be confined by what I do, or box other people with the same prejudice… we all have a journey and it’s all unique… it’s our ability and willingness to learn from others from diverse backgrounds that will make us more successful and whole.
And of course if you are a follower of Jesus you know that our greatest sense of identity comes that we are coheirs with him. That we are now adopted into sonship (or daughtership) with the Creator of the Universe…!! What credentials are greater than that!
PS. During the course of the day, the other women warmed to me, when I was able to give answers that were half intelligent- we’re funny creatures aren’t we? 🙂