Why Greta’s voice really matters
Hundreds of thousands of young people are marching in the streets in cities in Canada and around the world. They are ‘striking’ to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on their futures, and using their voice to ask those in power to take action.
A key catalyst in all of this is Greta Thunberg, a highly passionate and driven 16-year old girl from Sweden who has been steadily increasing her influence and spreading her message worldwide over the last year.
It’s very inspiring to see young people taking action for what they believe in, and clearly they have the world’s attention right now. This is also about more than climate change.
Whether you agree with what they are saying or not, children and youth must have their voices heard and acknowledged.
Young people do not have hidden agendas. Their voices are pure, real and reflective of a very important perspective. They need to have space, safety and support from adults so that they feel validated and to help them to see their role and place in society.
During the middle years (ages 6 to 12), levels of self-esteem, confidence and self-worth naturally decline without intervention. Part of what is happening during these years is forming identity, and that is related to a sense of having a voice and being heard. When you are accepted for who you are and what you stand for, you can truly flourish.
What can you do to support children in growing their voice?
• Encourage children to speak out about what they believe in
• Listen deeply without judgement or interruption
• Ask questions and be curious about what they are saying, where it is coming from and why it matters to them
• Acknowledge them for having the courage to speak out
If we continue to encourage, nurture and most importantly, listen to young voices, they will achieve greater success and be a generation poised to take care of the world and of each other.
[Photo – Anders Hellberg/Wikimedia Commons]