Switching the focus
Last December I was reminded of how much I value mobilising and facilitating change when I was asked to speak to a group of 14 and 15 year old school kids in Sweden. They wanted to know about the baby rescue project that my wife and I had been involved with, and our plans to work with refugees in the Middle East.
When I started preparing for the talk, it struck me that I didn’t really want to speak about myself, or to leave them with the idea that I was somehow special, exciting or noble. I wanted to leave them with the thought that if they are determined, they can make a difference in the world around them.
When I was 14 years old, I didn’t want to hear about how inspiring this or that person was, I wanted to hear that I could do the things that I found inspiring. I wanted to be encouraged to pursue my dreams.
So, instead of just telling my story, I unpacked a few simple lessons I’ve learned about how to pursue change.
Once I was done, we broke the class into small groups and discussed issues or injustices they have noticed around them, and skills they have that they could use to address them. One girl said she could use her love of music to organise a fundraiser. A boy who likes football considered coaching refugee kids.