Posted: 26 April 2011

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.

Well-being research

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?

By Jim Davis MBE - Church team

Plain text

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Young people want to be known by adults as individuals, and recognised when they're doing well as well as failing. Learn their names, who they are and what makes them unique.

How very sad that a person is judged by what they did at the very young age of seven. Surely people must understand that children sometimes do regrettable things, it does not mean they're going to be doing the same thing forever. Children grow up and change very quickly.

sorry about the girl, but it's not altogether surprising that people are nervous. I'd be nervous of someone who'd smashed up my greenhouse too. it's a very violent action. And she's getting bigger and stronger while the lady whose greenhouse she smashed is no doubt getting older and frailer. It'd make me jumpy.