Many children, young people and schools rose to the challenge and saw this summer as a chance to take action, to fundraise and turn this summer into a hopeful one for many around the world, writes Julia Corcoran, Leadership Development Coordinator at CAFOD. But this challenge isn’t done now that September has arrived, and with our second national assembly happening this month we want you to get involved.
Turning anxiety into hope
Summer should be a time to relax and rest before returning to school with fresh excitement and enthusiasm for learning. A chance to be hopeful for what you can achieve this year. For some, this summer has gone in a blink of an eye and been just that. For others it has dragged on due to lockdown and been a time of apprehension, nervousness and tension.
At the start of this new school year, the usual hopefulness that is normally experienced might not be there. I can’t imagine what it is like to restart school in the middle of a pandemic. It must be a time of anxiety for teachers, parents and students.
The only time I think I can relate to anxiety and the start of school was when I was in year 9. I travelled to school by train. That year, the first day back was a strike day. I had to get an unknown bus to school on the first day and I remember the week before feeling nervous that I would miss the bus, or the bus would be late and I would be late. The night before I had a dream that I would be on the bus and it would go a very long way around and I would never get to school. To say I was apprehensive about the new journey is a bit of an understatement. In the end, I got on the bus and arrived at school on time. For me, my time of anxiety was over in one day.
Listening to the voices of children and young people
However, for teachers and students around the world, this start of the academic year provides a deeper level of apprehension. For some, it has been five months since the last time they sat in a traditional classroom (some have been in online classrooms). And with the new start comes new rules and regulations that students and staff will have to follow.
With Covid-19 and all the problems we face due to it, it is easy to forget what we want to achieve. We seem to be in a rush to get back to “normal” or creating a “new normal”. But have we taken time to think about what this new normal is? Are we just in a rush to get back to school and work so that we can benefit ourselves? Or do we want to each be working for a better world?
Young people, time and time again, have shown they want a better world. That we should take action to make a difference. Often children and young people are the voices that are loudest when campaigning for change. And their voices need to be heard.
Making a better world together
On Thursday 10 September, CAFOD will be holding our second national assembly about making the world we want. Young people can dream big and make a real difference if we empower them to do that. They have the will, they have the passion but we need to support them to have a chance to take action to dream big and make the world how we all want it to be.
“Young people are not meant to become discouraged; they are meant to dream great things, to seek vast horizons, to aim higher, to take on the world, to accept challenges and to offer the best of themselves to building something better.”Pope Francis, Christi Vivit
This September, let us all put aside anything that gives us anxiety or discourages and start to dream of making a better world together.
You can join the assembly on CAFOD’S YouTube channel from 9.30am for primary school children or 10am for 11-18s. Whether you are in a classroom or still at home, join us to be inspired to dream big and to change the world so it is how we want it to be.