• Steve K

It's time for someone younger ...

I've spent the last 40 years working with and working for children. Recently, I was asked what I thought of children “bunking off school” on a day when school children around the world made their voices heard and shouted for change.

Our Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson said "every child should be in school. They should be learning, they shouldn't be bunking off and it's very irresponsible for people to encourage children to do so.”

Jessica, 16, emailed her school to say she would be joining the protests instead of being in class. Jessica said: "School is important but so is my future. If politicians were taking the appropriate action we need - and had been taking this action a long time ago when it was recognised the world was changing in a negative way - then I would not have to be skipping school."

So how do children and young people have a voice in the world they live in? And who listens? And why shouldn't they have a view on the world they live in today and will be looking after tomorrow?

And is protesting enough?

In our diocese we have been thinking about changing institutional culture. And we haven't made much progress. Possible and plausible solutions are easy to identify but much harder to implement. I guess one of the problems is the solutions cost too much, personally and corporately.

When looking at climate change, a Reuters survey found that while 69% of Americans wanted the government to take "aggressive" action to combat climate change, only a third would be willing to pay an extra $100 to make it happen. I want things to change so long as they don’t change me.

Greta Thunberg says, “If people need cues from others before they change their behaviour, then all we need to do is get some people to start taking action and others will follow.” And … “our actions are important not because they have a material effect on climate change, but because of the message they send to others.”

So maybe to change our culture we need to change, and such changes produce a ripple effect .... changing culture.

Earlier this year a 7 year old told me, “The world is in a mess, it's time for someone younger to have a go.” I think he is right.