'We've got to let our kids be kids': for once, I agree with ScoMo

Greta Thunberg and Scott Morrison
Greta Thunberg and Scott Morrison 

It pains me to say this, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison is right when he says we should "let kids be kids", but not for the reasons he so patronisingly suggests.

He thinks climate change activists, like Greta Thunberg, are alarmists and filling children with "needless anxiety". 

He thinks kids should be shielded from the worries of the world around them so they don't feel a sense of dread and can instead be left to play unencumbered.

"We've got to let our kids be kids," he said in reaction to Thunberg's powerful speech at the United Nations.

And by that he means letting kids not be needlessly concerned or scared. 

However, that's a condescending view of kids. That's not how kids operate. It suggests they can't be trusted to understand the complexities of the debate.  

Instead, I suggest, we should "let kids be kids" because they're fierce, passionate and determined. Give them the facts and let them do what comes naturally to them – take action.

Perhaps, if he wants kids to stop worrying about climate change, he should also change school curriculums, because kids are learning about the environment in classrooms all over this country. And when they learn, they're engaged in the issues. And when they're engaged in an issue, they often seek to make practical changes in their everyday life. We saw this happen with the marriage equality debate and we're seeing it now with climate change.

Their curiosity, sense of justice and passion to do the right thing is part of their make-up - just kids being kids.

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Kids are not passive observers. They take action. 

And with small changes, come bigger ideas. Give a child a project to help others or promote equality and they jump at the chance with 100 per cent commitment. 

In schools everywhere, there are kids fundraising for different charities. There are kids stepping up to make changes in their own communities. There are kids leading nude food lunchbox revolutions and carrying metal straws and KeepCups.

And there are kids organising their peers to attend climate change rallies. They've seen other kids, like Thunberg, make a difference in the world and they're not afraid to step-up. 

They're not anxious, they're angry.

So, when Mr Morrison says "let kids be kids" it shows his naïvity, because kids being kids are a force to be reckoned with. 

Instead of dismissing the views of children globally, Mr Morrison should have attended the UN climate summit. Instead of devaluing our children's fears, he should be working towards Australia reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Instead of asking parents to shield their kids from Thunberg and other climate change activists, he should be listening to the children of Australia. 

Kids have seen what the adults have done to the world and, rightly so, they've had enough.

What kids really want is acknowledgment and change. They want adults to start listening to them and taking their concerns seriously. And it's not just climate change - they also have real concerns about other issues too.

Children are our moral compasses. They are the people adults should strive to be more like.

Kids know what matters. They know what's worth fighting for. They know what's important. They know how critical it is, for the future of this planet, to do something now.

Kids just being kids – demanding the adults in power listen to them and take meaningful steps to make this world a better place.