Third the adults mentioned a reduction of physical activity by children as a result of 2020.
All worthy and reasonable concerns you might think.
Well, the 1200 children didn’t think so. They didn’t think so at all. In fact, the top three
words they used to describe 2020 were fun, good, and happy. Unfazed by the turmoil they
got on with, well, being kids.
So why the disconnect between adult concerns and students experiences? There are a
couple of possible interpretations.
Maybe the adults were so successful at screening out the harrowing nature of the year from
their children that kids were unfazed by it all. The dramatic experiences reported to me by
parents everywhere about the family tensions involved in cajoling kids to attend to remote
learning speaks against this. Also asking kids about current events on the news and it is clear
the media infiltrates into their awareness.
A more probable explanation involves the strengths of young people. Despite being
tarnished with labels like “snowballs”, this generation of kids maybe much more resilient
that we give them credit for. Sure they don’t like failure and can freak out over a fairly mild
rebuke but they appear to be accustomed to the world as it is.
This is not to suggest there haven’t been kids who have done it tough, have grieved for lost
relatives or suffered increased relationship stress in their homes. Nevertheless, what seems
an extraordinarily bleak year for most adults, appears to simply business as usual for most
It seems that young people have dispositions and attributes adults can learn from. They are
resilient and hopeful about the year ahead. When asked, “What’s the one thing you are
most excited about next year?“, they mentioned things like: cooking, meeting new friends,
teachers, family, holidays, birthdays, and getting involved in new activities.
So while most adults are brushing themselves off from the past year and hoping that
nothing like that ever happens again, we can take some comfort in knowing that at least our
children are turning their minds towards developing their strengths, enjoying the present
and creating a great future.
Andrew Fuller is an author, clinical psychologist and family therapist.