Facing the Storm

Feeling the wind about to knock me over is a childhood memory I’ll never forget. This week I took a small group of children for a similar experience… to look out at the snarling sea and feel the force of the wind. They sat transfixed for ages, staring out into the waves, facing the storm. They weren’t afraid of the weather… they were exhilarated by it. No fear of falling over or being caught by the rapidly approaching waves… and perhaps they were even a little too fearless… but no one got knocked over or got their feet wet.

This beautiful moment seemed to symbolise a current theme as I try to engage the people I know in conversations about the situation of the world in which we find ourselves.

As people who care for the future generations, do we have the courage for facing the storm which seems almost ready to engulf us?

Watch a critical film here: THIS PIVOTAL MOMENT

Over the last few hours I trawled through over 2000 contacts I’ve built up over the last 20 years of organising events, preparing to send out an email addressing our society’s precarious situation.

As I scrolled through the list, it wasn’t always easy to put names to faces but it was disheartening to pass over so many names knowing full well that they were not ready to even consider the information I had to share.

I don’t blame people for the fact that they are scared. It is understandable. This year has brought up feelings of terror which thankfully (for me), have mostly subsided. I’m not sure why exactly but I definitely feel more hopeful. However, it’s difficult to resist judgment of those who have decided to bury their heads in the sand, avoiding the reality that confronts us. I wouldn’t dare (or care) to walk a mile in anyone else’s shoes… it’s been hard enough to get comfortable in my own. Yet still, even with compassion for the lives other people may have lived, as adults with the time and opportunity to process their traumas, I feel sad to think of how many are unavailable when we need them more than ever. It seems I can’t even bother certain people with the greatest call to arms I’ve ever felt motivated to share. As children are pushed forwards towards the syringes while adults stand cowering behind them, it seems like the roles adult and child have been reversed. Shouldn’t the adults be forming a circle around the younger people of the tribe to protect them from bodily harm? Surely it’s time for the adults to stand up and protect the well being of future generations?

Most adults seem unwilling to confront the storm ahead, completely unlike the response of children who stare into the carnage and try to discern an appropriate response. How can children face danger so playfully whilst adults run and hide?

There are countless friends and family members with whom life has been reduced to polite conversation, unable as they are to broach any number of subjects which are just too uncomfortable to contemplate.

My work with young people demands that I speak honestly about the world, that I answer their questions as a faithful witness and trust their ability to process the answers. I want to make it clear that I do not instigate conversations with young people on the subjects of climate, gender choice or vaccination because I deem this subjects too complex for most younger minds to grasp. One only has to look at the extreme division that arises between adults to see that these matters are far from settled. If these subjects are difficult enough for adults to discuss, they would seem to place inordinate pressure on young minds. If they ask questions or wish to talk about these topics, I try to ask questions and avoid imposing my ideas on them.

All this being said…

Why is it that children seem so incredibly resilient and yet adults so fragile?

The world has been turned on its head in so many ways. Perhaps lacking the rites of passage that signposted the journey towards adulthood and maturity, older people today struggle to confront the responsibilities that go with the territory.

Although I’m willing to confront the issues of our times, I try to mimic the children in my care and do it with a glint in my eye… dancing, screaming and yelling as I rush towards the waves… trying not to get my feet wet… all the time… facing the storm.

Facing the storm - four children looking out to heavy sea