Our future - our Children

By Lee Wilkinson,

It’s not difficult to watch the news today and realize that there is a great deal of unrest in the world, in fact, we are inundated by it. The stories pour into our news outlets from all over the world and they reflect a widely varied array of subject matter.

The climate is possibly top of the list followed closely by Brexit in Europe and then equally as compelling are the issues facing America. I appreciate that I am being simplistic when I only mention those three things, albeit that they are sizeable in nature, there is a plethora of issues facing mankind all over the world. The people have spoken loud and clear and it reflects one thing to me, which is no one is listening, at least the people who have said they would run our countries aren’t.

Today, I had the privilege attending a career fair and talk with some of the young people who are just starting out on their life’s journey. What struck me instantly was the eloquence in which these young people spoke. There was a young man who had only moved to this country from Turkey a few months ago. He said there was a financial crisis there and his family was looking for a better life. His English was broken but he had a friend who’s Turkish was also limited and who together were working out how to tackle their life’s challenges, one teaching Turkish and the other teaching English. There were young women who spoke to me on air about social media and the pros and cons of this double-edged sword, the power and beauty of communication and the ugliness of bullying which is all too easy when the bully can remain anonymous.

They are influenced by the question ‘Why is it that we believe everyone else is having an amazing life but ours seems to pale in comparison?’ They spoke of the concerns they have about the climate and plastic waste in our oceans. These young people have a voice and it deserves to be heard, not as adult to child but as peer-to-peer. We adults gave away that power long ago when we stopped listening to them.

We are influenced now by names like Greta Thunberg on climate issues and Emma Gonzalez on gun control, Malala Yousafzai who survived being shot by the Taliban and is fighting for young girls rights to receive an education, the list goes on. There are young men as well; David Hogg has been in the forefront speaking about gun control after being affected by the Parkland shooting in the US. The point is and the thing that affected me today was how strong their voice has become. They are eloquent and passionate and they have a clarity of mind that only comes from an innocence of life. Posturing and false issues do not cloud their vision and they want results. Our job is to listen, support and empower them to share that voice.

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