The courage of the young students at a high school in Parkland, Florida in standing up to be heard against the US’s powerful pro-gun lobby has filled me with hope. Hot on the heels of their stories, I read about a British young man who sits on his local council (an achievment at 20 years old in itself) and gives up his weekends to work with others to stand up against fox hunters.
That is why listening to young people matters so much. The older generations ‘have always had access to guns’ or ‘have always gone fox hunting.’ To say something has always been a certain way isn’t a good enough reason for it to continue. Young people know that. They know the older generation is leaving behind them a terrific mess and they want us to stop. Let’s face it, they really do have nothing to lose.
So let’s listen to them. Let’s hear their suggestions – maybe some of them will be naive, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work. Maybe they will be a bit black and white, but maybe we need to cut through the gray. Let’s give them a voice and, more importantly, let’s give them the education and confidence and freedom to speak without parents, teachers and other authority figures criticising them.
In short, let’s listen to what the next generation has to say. It’s starting to seem as though it will be worth hearing.