Saturday, 20 August 2016

"It's just because of who his dad is"

I heard those words with an inwards wince.
One of the local lads has got himself into a very minor piece of trouble. He made a minor traffic error that a lot of other people have made. It is not a safety issue and it is something that many locals agree needs to be rectified. But now the entire district seems to know about the boy's "reckless behaviour". The interesting thing is that the only way other people could know is not because the kid told anyone but because someone in authority must have spoken out of turn. 
If any other kid had done the same thing then it is unlikely that anyone would even know. His parents might not even have been told. It was that minor. 
But this has  been blown out of all proportion. You see, it's really a way of getting at his father.
As kids my siblings and I all suffered from being "the head's kids", "X's daughter/son", "Y's children" and "Ben's granddaughter/grandson". Even now I am sometimes introduced as being the Senior Cat's daughter and, not too long back, I was even introduced as "this is Ben's granddaughter". 
It means of course that I am not considered as a person in my own right. I am seen as belonging in some way to some one else. My paternal grandfather was very well known in his local community - and even beyond that. The Senior Cat was well known in the field of education and of course three of his children trained as teachers. (We all went on to do other things as well.) 
But it really isn't fair to mark us, or any other child, out as someone's child. It is absolutely wrong to use us as a means of getting at our parents. Reporting something in the media, as sometimes occurs, simply because someone is the son or daughter of a politician,  judge or other well known individual is simply wrong.
I feel very sorry for the lad in question. He's actually a very well behaved, polite, hardworking boy who often helps others out. He's absolutely devastated. It's knocked his self confidence and caused a rift with his very demanding father.
The person who told me all of this actually observed the incident in question. He was close enough to hear the way the policeman who pulled the boy over spoke to him - and the way in which the boy responded. I don't doubt his version of the event. He's a trained observer and will have read the situation more accurately than most people. He most definitely would not have spoken out of turn.
As he said, "It's just because of who his dad is."

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