I don't doubt for one minute that I see those aspects of my childhood and think there was a core group of kids my age who all believed in themselves and kept on going. I know they weren't all like that but I like to think things were better 'back in my day'.
Working with a new generation of young people approaching their first milestone in education - their GCSE results - has, not so much opened my eyes to some of the difficulties they face today, but perhaps reaffirmed to me that there are REAL challenges for them in the midst of a negative economic led era and a lack of social integration.
Economic downturn, office-tied parents, kids who get no direction and aren't made to feel valued - these are all aspects of childhood I didn't see. And I realise that makes me lucky. When you're young I guess your eyes aren't open to everything and sometimes you don't see how your own situation affects you. You accept things for how they are. Because what else do you know?
You shouldn't expect young people at this age to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives but you do hope they have passions and dreams of where they might be in 10 years time. For some of these children there seems to be nothing. Their future stretches out like a desert. Some are indifferent to that. And that worries me.
|Leading by example: Malala Yousafzai's life changing experiences have provided her with a unique standpoint (source)|