History seems to have jumped up and bitten us this week. No I’m not going to write about the end of that era. The bit of history that caught my attention was that of Paris Brown – the 17 year old recruited in Kent to consult on the relationship between young people and the police.
Fredericks’ work very often involves people who want to pick themselves up after a metaphorical fall. People who have made rash decisions about money; people who have made mistakes in relationships; and people whose poor judgement has led to a criminal conviction. Whenever I interview someone who has a conviction in their past I am struck by their determination to isolate that event as in the past, out of character, an aberration. I cannot believe there is any one of us who doesn’t have something in their cupboard that they would rather not unearth. Even if it is an appalling jacket that didn’t look as bright in the shop. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Sometimes it is very hard to separate the past deeds from the present. Yet it is the thing at Fredericks we strive to do. This applicant made mistakes in the past, but have they learned from them? A customer once accused a member of staff of not being capable of assessing their plan because had they been a successful business person they wouldn’t have been working for us. No. Someone who has never made a mistake is the worst person in the world to advise others.
So I return to Paris Brown. Vilified because her mistakes were published to the world. What she wasn’t given the opportunity to prove was that they were mistakes.