Today I had a few reflective moments about my adolescence. The sense of anticipation of what was coming in my life, the freedom of the world opening up before me and all that there was to explore. Then I contrasted that with the reality that young people are facing today. A world full of uncertainty, restrictions, not just this year but way into their future. A world where they don’t know what value their qualifications will have. Where they don’t know if there will be any jobs in the field they want to work in. Where they don’t get to build the same in-person social connections that we did at their age as they try to move into their independence.
For a 42-year-old like me this pandemic has dominated 2.2% of my life to date. For a 65-year-old its 1.3%, a sixteen-year-old 5.7% and for an eleven-year-old it’s 8%. When you also take into account that the adolescent brain is still developing it’s capacity to think beyond the here and now then it is clear that it is far more difficult for young people to maintain what we call “perspective” about this pandemic than perhaps we have appreciated.
We have a responsibilty to help our younger generations navigate this season. Bearing in mind what seem be more like a harsh winter to us may feel to them like a Narnia winter that’s frozen over their entire childhoods. But we are the adults here, that doesn’t mean we aren’t worried or uncertain about the future ourselves. But it does mean that we are more likely to have already survived our own Narnias and as a result have more confidence in the eventual return of summer this time.
It is hope that enables us to have this confidence. Hope gives us something to hold onto through our suffering and struggles, it lifts our eyes when we are too exhausted to look outside of ourselves and it calls us forward to a light we can’t yet see. And encouragingly we don’t have to hold this hope ourselves to benefit from its power. There are times in my Narnia experiences where it has been the hope others have had on behalf of me that has carried me through and there are times when I have known that liiterally all I can do for someone else is to hold a hope for them and their future, until they are able to nurture that for themselves.
We are running a mentoring training course in February. If you are an adult and think you can offer to hold some hope on behalf of a young person in need then please get in touch with us. Make an investment today into the future of our youth. To be a mentor you need to be able to make an investment of 1 hour a week for 12 months. We follow a safe recruitment process including an enhanced DBS check. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.