3 Lessons from a nine-year-old on School Strike

21 Jun, 2019 | 0 comments

I never share photos of my kids. It’s a policy decision Mr and I made before No 1 came along. But a while ago we made a special case.

It was half term, so we were down by parliament and heard, rather than saw, the Climate Strike protest. “Woooooooo!” the children cheered, in response to every toot of solidarity from the passing traffic.

“I was to see the ‘Woooo’,” the three-year-old declared. And off he ran. I caught up to him asking a nine-ish year old boy, “Can I have a shot?”

“Oh no, darling,” I said. “He’s using his sign.” Gravely, Nine looked me in the eyes, then turned back to Three. “There’s a spare one,” he said, and he gave him the biggest spare sign available.

Off went Three, to climb onto the raised section the teenagers were standing on, where he stood, determination personified, waiting expectantly for cars to toot.


Of course I’m proud of him. But he’s three. He had no idea what he was protesting for. (We’ve started talking about it. He’s started coming up with his own slogans – “No Thank You!” being my favourite so far.)

But three things stand out for me when I think back on the experience.

The world desperately needs people who will ignore nay-sayers and get on with changing things. (Not just on issues of climate justice.)

Nine never spoke a word to me. Maybe he was shy to talk to a stranger grown-up. But when he looked at me, he saw a woman standing in the way of her child speaking out for his future.

He didn’t bother arguing with me. He just got on with empowering my son.

We need to keep going. There’s more we can do and we must. (Again, not just the climate.)

I thought it was cool, but I was going to walk past. The pre-schooler spotted that something worth joining was happening. He made me stop, be present, allow him to add his voice, and take the time to add mine. I’ve protested against climate change before and will do again. We’ve switched to green energy, turn off lights, reduce, reuse and recycle, do Earth Hour… but there will always be more to be done.

When you have a message to share, create extra resources so you can welcome and empower others to join you.

Nine was stood near a whole stack of banners. I’ve seen them at other protests since this, with different people waving them.

This is how we build movements. This is how we create meaningful change and have real impact. By being prepared, and ready for people to join in.

What’s the change you want to see? What’s the movement you’re driven to join or create? How will these lessons help what you do next? Share in the comments below.

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