Daisy is 12. She went to a disco the other night where she sat at the side with her friend all evening. She was actually asked by a boy if she would go with him but she said no, even though she liked him.
Dan is 9. He has been through four foster homes in four years. He is short with a cute face and makes everyone laugh. Everything seems fine with Dan, except in the few moments he doesn’t smile.
Joseph is Dan’s older brother. While everyone is making a fuss of Dan, Joseph sits by himself and plays repetitive games on his phone.
Millie likes playing football and trains twice a week with a local team. She admires her team mates who are more naturally skilled than her but she berates herself when the opposition score.
Jess is 16. She received vocal training when she was younger because her Mum loved to her hear sing. Now she has a beautifully clear voice and recently she joined an a cappella group. The others in the group are amazed by her talent and tell her how good she is, but she’s heard it many times before and now it doesn’t sink in.
Every young person is unique. Some have lives that are perceived by the world to be difficult and some to be easy, but in my experience very few ever feel like they are important, or that they are making a difference.
Peter has a quick wit that often helps to diffuse tension at home, his siblings all secretly consider him as their favourite brother. Daisy is clever and often helps out her classmates at school when they don’t understand something, it is this attention, rather than her looks, that attracts the boys. Joseph feels the weight of responsibility for his brother, but Dan keeps him from worrying with his winning smile. Dan appreciates all the attention he gets from other people, but the only person he really loves is his brother, because Joseph is the one constant left in his life. Millie’s team mates are always challenged by her commitment and persistence, something the coach has spotted, so he ensures that she plays in every game. Jess’ Mum suffers from bouts of depression but she gets through the worst times when she listens to Jess singing. When she’s older Jess will get involved in music therapy and use her voice to help other children who struggle for one reason or another.
I may have invented these children and their lives, but they are not so very different from millions of real young people. When I talk to children I make it my intention to discover something interesting about them and show them that they are important.
It is my desire for every child to be able to say
I AM SIGNIFICANT