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Follow the Lead of Young People

When we adults were young, we were fascinated with everything around us—the textures, plants, water, bugs, animals, wind, rain. We tried to share this with the adults around us, and often we were either ignored or met with “how cute.”

In school we were made to study aspects of the environment. Our personal experience was not asked for, and our sense of wonder was not appreciated. The environment became a subject that had to be learned, and it was either hard or easy depending on who we were, and who the teacher was.

I think young people need us to listen, join them in their wonder, answer their questions, and assist them in discharging any distresses that come up as they care for living things and interact with the environment. 

Young people often lead where we adults are afraid to go. I remember how a ten-year-old RCer, on hearing about nuclear weapons, started a petition at her school to make her city a nuclear-free zone. Then she led her (reluctant) mother to a city council meeting and presented the petition. Young people can often ask questions and initiate actions that make us rethink our hopeless and powerless feelings.  

Chuck Esser
International Commonality
Reference Person for Family Work
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Reprinted from the e-mail discussion
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Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00