05 Mar Crafterthought – Do we put too much pressure on young people to change the world?
Are we asking too much of the next generation and setting them up to fail?
Do celebrity change makers inspire people to make changes or can they make people feel ineffective and small? In this Crafterthought post I’ll explain why sometimes I feel like we underestimate the important everyday actions that collectively make a difference by focusing on the huge achievements of global celebrities. I want to know what you all think, I know you’ll have some interesting views, so please leave a comment and let’s get this conversation started!
Have you heard of We Day?
What is We Day?
Youth coming together to make the world a better place is the global movement of our time—We Day is this movement. An annual series of stadium-sized events, We Day brings together world-renowned speakers and performers. I was lucky enough to attend a We Day event last year. It’s all about bringing young people together so that they have a collective voice – Not ME but WE. There are lots of ways they can get involved on the website in the We Act campaigns. It was amazing: Al Gore (yes, the real Al Gore!) was there talking about what he has achieved and how. Richard Branson was there interviewed by his daughter Holly Branson who helped set up this event. Malala Yousafzai (Activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate) spoke about how her parents, especially her father, treated her and her brothers equally, raised them all to believe they could do whatever they wanted to do and how her dad inspired her to fight for education for all young people in her country and the world.
Too Much Pressure?
It was great hearing these personal stories from famous people on stage and the young people clearly loved the day full of music, dance and cool goodie bags. But I also worried about the pressure put on this audience of young kids to be ‘the change you wish to see in the world’, to be change-makers. The vast majority of the people on stage ended by saying that the young people in the audience are our future, it’s up to them to change the world now and when they are older…
Wow, that’s a lot of pressure!
All of the examples were from these well-known celebrities and their huge achievements, not from every day changes from less famous people. I worry that such examples are setting up these young people to fail, suggesting that only big changes make a difference, or, worse, disempowering them to even try such a big challenge.
It’s often little everyday actions collectively that make a difference: sometimes it’s a chat with someone people respect that can change a way of working. I understand that’s not as exciting a solution as being a hero but changing our habits really can change the world.
This is where you all get involved – we want to hear your opinions on this series of Crafterthoughts. Are we putting too much pressure on the next generation?