Just Because

Author: Rebecca Elliott

Reviewed by: Simon Duffy

In this simple and delightful book for small children we hear Toby, a small boy, talk about his life with his sister, Clemmie. Toby understands that Clemmie (who in 'grown-up speak' has a disability) is different to Toby "just because". Toby understands that differences are good "just because". Toby and Clemmie love each other "just because".

It may seem surprising to put a children's book in the Centre's Library; but this book gets to the heart of the values that inspire The Centre for Welfare Reform:

We are all different - and differences are good - they make the world interesting. 
We are all equal - in our fundamental worth - each human life is sacred. 
We need each other - in all our differences - community is essential.

The child sees what the adult can't. We have filled our heads with nonsense. We imagine that what is important is power, fame, money, possessions - or whatever else is in the papers this week. And so we lose sight of our own uniqueness; and we lose sight of the real value of other people. 

We seek out simplistic and shallow measures of our human worth: IQ, fitness, money, power, merit, weight, beauty... and we make these simple measures our goal.

The egotists try to excel against our chosen measure: "I'm better than you at..." While the egalitarians try to eradicate the inequalities that are inevitably created by our own measure: "It's not fair that they have more of..."

But what the egotist and the egalitarian share is their common faith in their own simplistic measure of human worth.

But nothing is that simple; and nothing should be that simple. There is no measure for a human being, but the whole of our humanity itself. 

We don't need a flatter world; we need a more interesting world - a world where people can be different "just because".
We don't need silly measuring sticks; we need a world that sees the equality of human dignity "just because".
We don't need to compare ourselves to others; we need to love and respect other people "just because".

The message at the heart of this book is simple - but profound. Once understood it changes our perspective on everything. 

Just Because is available to purchase from Amazon

The publisher is Lion Hudson.

Just Because © Rebecca Elliott 2010.

Review of Just Because © Simon Duffy 2012.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

Review | 30.11.02

politics, Review