‘The Forgotten Years’ don’t have to be
Think about what you were doing when you were 10 years old.
Maybe you were playing sports. Maybe hanging out with your friends. Maybe reading books. Maybe even getting into a little bit of trouble. That’s all normal.
Now think about who was telling you that your voice matters, that you have the duty to contribute to the larger community, and that you also have the ability to make positive change.
Usually, in a room full of people, only one or two people would put up their hand and say they had someone like this in their life during that life stage. They also say that even if they didn’t have this influence, they wish that they did, and they believe it would have made a positive impact on who they are today.
The ‘middle years’ for children (ages 6 to 12) are so important to who they become in the future, laying the foundation for their self-identity, how they build social relationships and their ability to make good decisions.
Without intervention, it is common during these years to see declines in children’s confidence, optimism, sense-of-self and overall satisfaction with their lives.
Yet, we often hear them also referred to as ‘the forgotten years.’
Research has heavily focused on early years and adolescence, which has led to more attention, awareness and investment in those age groups. But recently, there is more evidence that shows how important the middle years are and how critical it is for us to invest in children at this age. We are also becoming more aware of the gap that exists in programming, research and understanding about middle years children, especially in a Canadian context.
There are over 1 million children in their middle years in Ontario alone, and this will grow to over 1.25 million in the next 20 years. These children are the change-makers of the present and future, and we want them to have the best chance to face the challenges that our fast-paced and ever-changing world will present to them.
This is why Future Possibilities for Kids has committed to doubling our leadership and life skills programming over 3 years, aiming to reach 1,000 middle years children annually by 2021 as part of our ‘Leadership Amplified’ strategy. We will do more so that children can:
- Use their voice and actions to make their communities stronger
- Connect with supportive and encouraging adults and community members
- Have more opportunities to build their confidence and sense of purpose
This is our contribution to this very important and crucial age for children. We are also inviting others to provide more opportunities and to take action to rally for increased support for middle years’ children. Doing this now will see these children flourishing for years to come.
You may not have had that voice of support in your life when you were 10, but together, we can create this for our children now.