We have to be careful about the words we use. Even though the first paragraph is completely accurate, the continual use of the word just gives the entire thing a negative connotation. Compared to the second paragraph where I changed some of the language to make it more positive and understandable. Sure, some of the words changed, but in all reality, it comes down to one word - just.
I am just a kid from New Prague, Minnesota. It’s just a town of about 8,000 people. I went to Belle Plaine High School, where we have just one Agricultural Education/Industrial Technology Teacher. I just played basketball until freshman year and baseball until junior year. Otherwise, I was just in FFA.
I am from New Prague, Minnesota, a town of about 8,000 people. I graduated from Belle Plaine High School, where we have a teacher that has the ability to teach both Agricultural Education and Industrial Technology classes. I enjoyed playing basketball until I reached my freshman year of high school. During my junior year, my priorities shifted, and I didn’t play baseball after that. I was a dedicated and heavily involved FFA member.
Which of these paragraphs are better? Why? Just take a second to think about that.
In both paragraphs I stated facts. I talked about where I grew up and about my high school life. There was a difference though. One word was consistently used - just.
A few weeks ago, at Farmfest near Morgan, Minnesota, I heard over and over again people say, “I’m just a crop farmer” or “I’m just …” No one is just anything. Everyone has an important job; that is why it's a job. That crop farmer, he feeds the world. That school janitor; he cleans the school so that students can learn in a clean environment. That nurse; he personally cares for the patient and supports the doctors and their work.
Just is a word I don’t like. However, this idea was introduced to me by the President of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, Kevin Paap. During one of the State Officer Professional Development days, he asked, Why use the word just? It is completely unnecessary. There are better words to describe any situation than the word just. No one is just anything, so let’s make sure everyone understands they have a place and job that is important, not only to themselves, but to society. It might be awkward, but answer back, “excuse me, but I don’t think you’re just anything. Being a ______ is important. I appreciate what you do.” Everyone wants to hear validation and stopping them from putting themselves down is something we should all strive to do.
Stationed by the Door,
H. James Mathiowetz