Not just…

The other day a friend used the word “just” when referring in passing to a couple of hours her son had spent drawing.  Well, she started to use the word, and then stopped herself.  She said “He was sitting there at his desk, just drawing, – I mean, drawing, and then…”

The little word had no bearing on the story she was telling, but her choice to adjust what she said got us talking about how the word “just” gets used in this way, and how much of a difference it can make to remove it. We use the word all the time to belittle things, and kids’ pursuits are a common target.  Drawing, in fact, is a common target.

This mom is at work cleaning up her language, spotting biases that sneak out in small ways, about what does and doesn’t have value, particularly in areas her son is committed to where she would never choose to spend her time.  Here’s to that.