It’s all too easy to take what people say at face value when they very obviously mean what they are saying.
I met a young man at a work event. I was part of a group of people representing different social care organisations listening to the experiences of young people who were in the care system.
He came up to me and asked what I was doing on my phone. I struggled to understand at first because he had difficulties speaking, but he did make himself understood.
I told him that I was reporting on what people said during the day and telling lots of influential people via twitter. I asked him if he wanted to say anything to the world.
He asked who the influential people were. I told him, politians, journalists and other decision makers, as well as the public.
His message to the world was that he was happy to be in care as he couldn’t live with his parents because he was naughty and they couldn’t look after him.
I told him that I didn’t believe that he was naughty, after all, in the introduction session he said that he was a cheeky monkey. A statement backed up by his carer.
He insisted and so I wrote the tweet but didn’t put the word naughty in. He insisted I did. So I did.
Before I sent the tweet, I asked his carer for approval. The carer wouldn’t consent to it being sent and so with some relief I deleted it and it wasn’t mentioned again.
Just before the day ended I was talking to someone from another organisation told me how the young man who wanted me to tweet had been in and out of care for most of his life.
He kept on having to go back to live with his parents because the authorities wanted to keep the family together.
His Dad was known to be very aggressive towards him.
One day an accident was reported. The boy was brain damaged and was taken permanently into care.
He will be forever in his own mind, a naughty boy.