How are our Young People’s voice’s heard?
The Chief’s in general are very sensible men, and wish for information upon all subjects.
They are accustomed to public discussions from their infancy.
The chiefs take their children from their mothers breast, to all their public assemblies.
They hear all that is said upon politics, religion, war etc by the oldest men.
Children will frequently ask questions in public conversation, and are answered by the chiefs.
I have often been surprised, to see the sons of the chiefs at the age of 4 or 5 years sitting amongst the
Chiefs, and paying such close attention to what was said…
There can be no finer children than the New Zealanders in any part of the world.
Their parents are very indulgent, and they appear always happy and playful and very active.
- diary entry from Reverend Samuel Marsden
A colleague of mine recently sent me this quote and I was so taken with it. It is from Tears of Rangi: Experiments Across Worlds By Anne Salmond. I have not read the book but I have loved reflecting on this quote from Reverend Samuel Marsden about what he learnt from observing Aotearoa culture after he had arrived in New Zealand.
How are we still doing this? Are we doing it? Has it been lost in our New Zealand culture? Can we get it back?
Our children's voices are so important. How are we making space for those of all ages in all we do? How are we including our tamariki in our parishes? Are they involved in our meetings? Do we give them opportunity to sit and listen and learn from a young age? Do we really listen to them when they share?
We are missing young adults in our parishes. Have we given them true opportunities to become part of our parishes. Those young adults I have seen who have been given real opportunities to be involved, to understand the workings of their parish and the Presbyterian church have thrived in it. They have loved having their voice heard and understanding how we have such a unique set up where in fact their voice is so important and that our systems have been designed to hear all voices.
But in reality have we lost some of this for our younger generations? Often our young adults have reflected once they have learnt how things worked have been saddened they didn't understand earlier, that their friends hadn't understood and many have and still feel their voices aren't truely heard.
How can we help change this?