Well-being, not 'well good'
I was speaking to a young person called Amy recently about her experiences of getting into trouble with the police. When she was seven she smashed up a neighbour’s greenhouse after her friends dared her to.
Now aged 12, she looks back at the incident with regret and remorse. She feels bad for the person whose property she damaged and who felt intimidated by the children and young people behaving badly at the time. I was talking to her and her friends about values as I prepare a series of bible study notes for the charity.
The notes will be based around the key themes of the Good Childhood Inquiry and include case studies from young people involved in our projects. Amy and her friends are part of a programme of intergenerational activities where we help young people and older people overcome some of their concerns and fears about each other.
For Amy, the greenhouse incident is in the past and part of something she regrets and has moved on from. But the problem is that many adults in her street haven't forgotten, and still see Amy and her friends as trouble.
It doesn't matter to them that Amy and her friends are trying to better themselves; the suspicion is that they will always be up to mischief.
Our research into young people's well-being shows how important relationships are to young people, not only their relationships with friends and family, but also with adults in their community. A loving relationship between friends and family is exhibited by an ability to forgive and to recognise when someone is trying to change.
Amy says she is trying to be 'well good' but it's not very encouraging when those efforts are ignored. Our intergenerational work is helping adults to see the change in young people and helping young people to recognise the concerns and needs of adults. We hope this will result in an improved sense of well-being for everyone. That can't be bad can it?