I have tried to resist the temptation to use Greta Thunberg as a newsletter topic, but clearly I have failed. Greta Thunberg, whether you agree or disagree with her message remains an interesting and polarising character on the world stage today. But when I read about and listen to the commentary surrounding this young lady it's not her message that grabs my attention. But rather, it’s her passion and commitment to a cause that jumps off the page for me.
I am surprised that most people (particularly students) only see her and know her for her activism as she bluntly challenges world leaders and speaks to the UN, while unaware that Greta began her public journey in August of 2018 when she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming by holding up a sign saying (in Swedish) "School strike for climate".
Now, again, I am not advocating that students should give up school in quite the same way to pursue their passion as Greta did. I am however advocating that students should get passionate and pursue that passion with a similar determined commitment. I don’t think that Greta woke up one day and suddenly and miraculously become passionate about global warming. I suspect it took years of pondering and debating with teachers and peers to come to the place she has.
My question is… how do we encourage the young people in our care to find and pursue their passions and influence the world around them? I wonder if the structures of our schools tend to stifle rather than stoke passion. I wonder if in the busyness of our parental lives we fail to see the passion and thus fail to nurture it.
Wherever you stand on these thoughts it is my hope that we can agree that deeply embedded in a Bayside student's passion should also be hope, humility and generosity; three key traits that, when present, provide the foundation of a significantly more influential discussion and debate (regardless of the topic).