Empowering Children in a Changing World
Bethia: We are motivated by the need to DO something about the environmental issues we see around us. Issues that have been rumbling along in the background for our lifetimes, but have become increasingly urgent and worrying in recent years. Now that I have children, I wonder what the world will be like when they are my age - will we have acted in time? Will we be on a new trajectory by then? GROWbox has four themes and we chose them because these are the ideas and skills we have identified as essential for the next generation:
Let’s GROW: For many of us, especially in more populated areas, modern life means that we have to be intentional about connecting with the natural world. We can go for days without being in it, around it or even noticing it because we have built our lives around cars, buildings, concrete etc. Let’s GROW offers opportunities and ideas for immersing our children in the natural world; growing things, appreciating it and learning about it. We need to be connected with nature so we understand why and how to protect it!
Let’s BE WELL: We are all aware of the growing tide of mental and physical health issues that our kids and young people are facing. There are loads of ways to keep our bodies and our minds fit and healthy - diet and exercise is just the start. Learning confidence, resilience, a growth mindset, how to read and recognise our emotions plays an important part too. Let’s BE WELL offers a way to learn about these values. We need to be fit and strong, both mentally and physically, to be able to tackle the environmental challenges ahead, to have the energy and the clarity of mind to cope with all these crises and respond in a measured and effective way.
Let’s IMAGINE: Children’s minds have far fewer limitations than adult’s minds do - they are uninhibited, free and creative. Just observe the sorts of questions they ask or the things that they come up with (‘thoughts of possibility’) as they gaze out of the window on a car journey. These ways of thinking are going to be so essential for adapting and inventing new and innovative ways to live and make change - new solutions to old problems. Let’s IMAGINE offers ways to nurture creativity and encourage that open-minded way of thinking that children have.
Let’s CONNECT: The world has become more and more interconnected. We live in a global village - globalisation means that very few of our children will stay in one place or even one country in the future. As global citizens, they will need to know how to connect with anybody and everybody. How to make new friends/communities, how to move forward with someone who has a completely different opinion, how to persuade others of changes that are needed, how to empathise and act on local needs as well as international challenges. Let’s CONNECT offers opportunities for our children to help and understand others, to see themselves as part of a community, to grow their social skills and find their place in making a difference to planet and people!
Jess: So, I think what we’re getting at is that we are excited about taking action! We want our children to grow up seeing hedgehogs as we did in our childhood and have an appreciation of the natural world. We want them to be able to play freely without worry about air pollution or increased traffic density. We want them to be healthy and fit for the future. We want them to be creative and able to think innovatively and positively, supplying ideas for a solution-based approach. We want them to be connected with others, to be kind, understanding and work together in a global team to tackle the challenges ahead. GROWbox is just the start - how exciting to feel like you’re doing your best to equip the next generation to look after our precious Earth and all the things that benefit from it!
This week we shared a poll on our Facebook Group to see what skills people thought children needed most. Interestingly ‘resilience’ seemed to be voted most important, although most people I’m sure would agree that most of the qualities we listed including education, kindness and strong communication skills are also critical for the next generation to thrive.
We are starting a monthly book group for eco-minded individuals to unite over a good read. Please have a look and see if it might be for you!
Here are a few books to read to get you inspired:
How To Be A Good Creature by Sy Montgomery: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37569338-how-to-be-a-good-creature#:~:text=National%20Book%20Award%20finalist%20Sy,featuring%20illustrations%20by%20Rebecca%20Green.
The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen:
The Diversity of Life by E. O. Wilson: