Learning from the Young

I’m reading ‘Proverbs’ in my Bible. Wise King Solomon gives fatherly advice to young people: ‘Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.’

My many years spent teaching in schools recognises this pattern: the old teach the young. However 3 teenagers have taught me…

British tennis player 18-year-old Emma Raducanu quit Wimbledon after suffering breathing difficulties, last week. She said she felt the experience of competing in the championships had ‘caught up with her’.

The exact details of exactly what forced her to withdraw are unknown; it seems that the anxiety and stress of performing had just got too much for her. She deservedly hit the headlines. Her exuberance, skill, determination, ordinariness, and humility impressed me.

19-year-old Bukayo Saka, pictured in many newspapers yesterday missing a penalty, wrote to pupils at his old school in West London: ‘I grew up in a Christian family who believe strongly in God… My faith is constantly being exercised when I’m put in different situations or I play in big football matches…’

His head teacher, Caroline Chamberlain, said that Saka was a ‘polite, modest and impressive young man’ who was conscientious at school and has not been changed by fame… Impressive indeed.

May be an image of 2 people, indoor and text that says 'BLACK MARVEL BLACEDOW MARVEL STUDIOS T WIDOW'

Daniel is a local 15-year-old who is profoundly deaf. Yesterday was his GCSE English speaking exam. To the outsider like me this is an apparent impossibility.  Daniel was allowed to take the exam by presenting his ‘speech’ in British Sign Language with a voiceover.

Proud Mum, Ann, said: ‘He did himself proud and got a distinction.’  Daniel’s determination to settle for nothing but his best teaches me that often what I may see as impossible should be attempted and made possible….

Musing… Solomon’s example and advice continues to be good: the old have a responsibility to teach the young – wisdom, knowledge, discernment, justice…. And yet the young – including Emma, Bukayo and Daniel – have much to teach us older folk…

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