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The Wisdom of Youth

On my bulletin board above my desk are a number of quotations. This past week, one in particular reminded me of the importance of the work we do and how privileged we are to do it.

School teacher Jackie Mutcheson once said, “It takes each of us to make a difference for all of us.” And while it is the staff and parents’ great privilege to teach and raise our girls, it is our girls who often have the perspectives and wisdom that allow us do this in the best possible way.

I was reminded at every turn last week about the wisdom youth possess, as well as their passionate desire to effect change.

Last weekend I read the student newspaper The Clementimes. This edition’s stories were linked by a theme of change. Our Editor, Molly ’18, wisely wrote, “Change is integral to the improvement of our communities. If we do not raise questions and concerns, if we do not suggest change, then nothing will ever get better…we have the power to change our outlook, to change our situation, to keep our souls alive and singing.”

On Tuesday, in celebration of Black History Month, our Student Diversity Committee shared their stories and stressed the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion. As Lashae ’18, the Head of this committee said, “Standing here today in front of you all, I have great hope that the Diversity Committee will continue to be of importance, and that, in the future, the events such as Black History Month and Asian Heritage Month will be celebrations that we take on. I truly believe our job as people in this great community is to learn, understand, and educate each other. With knowledge we have the power to create both clarity and unity, two aspects that ignorance has and continues to destroy. We have the power to make change.”

On Friday, the wisdom of our younger students was on display as our Grade 4s led assembly and reminded the community of the power of courage and how, having courage can be a catalyst for change.

Finally, I read with great hope, about the youth movement working to reshape gun control in the United States in the aftermath of the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In an article in The Globe and Mail this weekend entitled US Teenagers are Reshaping Gun Debate, Adam Winkler, a law professor at University of California, LA, says, “This time does feel different…All of these kids and students rising up, we just haven’t seen that before- [Mass shootings] have often stimulated more debate about guns and even efforts to regulate guns, but not the mobilization of a whole new constituency.”

It is our youth’s wisdom, their voices and their desire for change that leaves me optimistic about our future. As we continue to guide and raise our girls, let us be sure to seek their wisdom along the way.

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