Minister’s Blog

21 March 2019

Today I raise the question about the politicisation of children not least in the recent protest at the Scottish Parliament about the serious risks to our planet caused by our excessive behaviour generated by a more luxurious lifestyle.

Some people were concerned that children were deliberately missing school. It is a legal requirement that parents ensure that their children attend. To take them off school without  good reason is to break the law.

The  protest about Climate Change benefitted from this. It was surely much more exciting to break the law and protest about Climate Change than to miss your swimming lesson and rugby game on Saturday morning instead!

Because I have worked with young people in Primary and Secondary Schools throughout my whole ministry, it does not come as a surprise that young people are concerned about the earth.

They have received a good education and it has largely been down to our schools that they are so fine-tuned to the issues involved. From a personal point of view, I admire their concern and their action. It is Scriptural. ‘A little child shall lead them.’

However, Primary School children cannot make these protests without the support of their parents. To what extent is the child’s protest free from undue parental influence? And is it appropriate that a childhood should be shaped in this political way?

Politics is a messy business. As we have seen to our cost recently. It is accompanied by worry and fear, ruthlessness and division, animosity and stress. Is it an environment to which children should be exposed in such an immediate way?