You guys are so inspirational!
I spend a lot of my working life talking to teenagers and young people. I love it! It is some of the best bits of my work. And over the last 6 months, it has been what has kept me going. Because, you lot are inspiring, you know that? Although I am often talking to young people at low points in their lives, I get to hear about the important things you do. At times when young people are feeling sad, anxious, depressed, frightened or lonely, it is my privilege, and sometimes my pain, to hear their stories and to try to join with them to find ways through.
But the joy for me comes in what we are finding our way through to. Because that is the key. We are finding our way through to the alternative story that they want to tell. The hopes and dreams and strengths and intentions. And I find it an incredible relief that I have yet to meet a young person who didn’t have something interesting to say. And I also find it brings me enormous hope that you lot, your generation, are so competent and so certain you can
change the world! One young woman said to me in the last few months “I know I will change the world, or die trying” and I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her, because she meant it and I believed her. That wasn’t a throw away comment. It wasn’t a statement made for attention on some social media platform, or a copied and pasted status update. It was a
quiet, determined statement and I absolutely believed it. I am so grateful that I can.
The last 18 months have been tough for us all. For those of you who have had school, exams, friendships, relationships and learning interrupted, it has been really tough. But throughout all of this, I have continued to have inspiring conversations and I hold a lot of hope that some of the good things that have been learnt will be carried forward by young people.
There was an interesting government audit of political engagement in 2019, which suggested that people aged 18-34 were the most likely to think that getting involved is effective. And that is certainly my personal experience. Your generation believes you can make a difference, and you do! Look at the campaigners who have gained most traction in recent years – Greta Thunberg, the Parkland school gun-law campaigners in the US, Malala Yousafzai etc etc.They are all under 25, in fact most of them under 18 when they start. You can’t all be Greta Thunberg, and her passion may not be yours. But all the young people I get to talk to have something they care about, something they are interested in, and something that they value. I am so grateful that I get to hear what you are striving for. I get to hear what you value and how you are working towards those values. Not everyone gets the chance to have those values noticed or appreciated. But I appreciate your values and I am not the only one. They do count and they do get noticed. Please keep striving for them. You give me hope that change is possible. You give me hope that good things can come out of difficult situations and that my generation and those above me might not have ruined absolutely everything. At the very least, we have done at least some things right because we got you.
Thank you for inspiring me. I promise to listen to your values and to try and support you to move towards them.
Dr Helen Care
A Confident Start -
therapy for young people