One day a generation will lead a population. In his song “Waiting on the World to Change” US singer songwriter John Mayer uses this line to communicate a truth. OK, he uses the word rule as opposed to lead. I don’t like the word rule and think lead fits better.
All of us have been young at some stage in our lives. Maybe some of us are lucky enough still to be young. How many times where you told that you would be the leaders of tomorrow? I remember being told this on many occasions by adults who simply failed to explore my feelings around the issues they were discussing. They simply left, and in my view missed an opportunity.
Yesterday, like many in the UK, I was sitting down to watch the launch of the Youth Violence Commission final report launch. This line by Mayer came right back into my head. One of the team from the Commission highlighted how glad he was that this generation will be the decision makers of the future. Was he a fan?
Yesterday’s event was led with the hashtag ‘The Final Word” demonstrating the desire to have the young person’s voice at the heart of the session. It didn’t disappoint. Stories from the young people were varied. Their input was passionate and well-informed. A common purpose was on show, one that simply wanted the violence to stop and for there to be better outcomes for young people in society.
For some, the listening would have been challenging. A focus on a need to get better at developing community relationships was clear. It’s true, when you are having challenges, I was taught to ask the question “What are you doing about improving relationships?”. That was the question here. It’s time to move from a place of discomfort to action.
What took place yesterday proves the point that our young people are leaders today not just for tomorrow.
I want to applaud the team around the young people. They created the space for the young people to develop their knowledge and giving them a vehicle to express their passion and common purpose. What you promote you permit, suggesting that this work will inspire other young people to follow a common purpose of non-violence. The group supporting the young people created the space for the young people to be the leaders we know they are. They always were.
At a time when many young people across the UK are growing up in communities where violence is the apparent norm, we need another message, one of non-violence which communicates the healthy norms and attitudes we know exists in our society.
So well done to the young people involved in the Youth Violence Commission. Well done to those who have supported these young people. To those the report is directed at, your job is to listen and to act.