After writing yesterday’s post about Young Quaker Resources I realized I hadn’t gotten one part of that story quite right. I said I realized we hadn’t invited the participation of young Friends in our peace and social justice work. More accurately, Junior Yearly Meeting came up with the idea of selling flowers on their own. It was their example that made me realize we need to include, and learn from, the work and concerns of our young Friends.
I also hadn’t mentioned that the Junior Yearly Meeting flowers project was to raise money specifically to support the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s work on climate change, an issue that has been the central concern of my life and work. I’ve struggled to find ways to bring more attention to our environmental crisis, and here our young Friends came up with an effective approach I had never thought of. Its not just that we should include our young Friends in our work for their sake, but rather to be shown the way by them. The Yearly Meeting approved a Minute about this:
Junior Yearly Meeting Addresses climate change with fund raiser for FCNL climate work.
We are deeply moved and appreciate the contribution of Junior Yearly Meeting to our ongoing concern regarding changes in our environment. Their project to raise funds for FCNL’s efforts to address environmental concerns by selling flowers was both spiritually and artistically beautiful. — Minute approved by Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) 2015
Young Friends can also add humor to discussions. Once when I was talking with very young Friends about fossil fuels, and what can be found underground, one child went to the toy box to put on a miner’s helmet. Another answered that the underground railroad could be found.
Young people globally are working for their future.
At the COP24 climate talks in Poland, fifteen year old Greta Thunberg of Sweden said, “we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules because the rules have to be changed.”
“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”
“So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again. We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge.”
Jon Queally, Common Dreams, Dec. 4, 2018