Tomorrow I’ll be speaking at Open Boston.
There are going to be a range of topics explored by talented youth workers from across the North East. My session is going to identify ways to help students (as young people in middle and high school are commonly referred to in the US – which means college / university-aged students in the UK) think globally.
My session is going to be very practical, so there won’t be a lot of background as to why it’s important for young people to think globally. So, if you plan to attend my session tomorrow – you get a little teaser today! If you’re not able to attend, you might still find it helpful to understand why helping the youth you work with think globally is an important part of your practice.
Firstly, you may want to acclimate yourself to what Global Youth Work is – go ahead, I’ll wait.
OK, ready?! So now that you know a little more about where I’m coming from when I talk about Global Youth Work, let’s talk further about why it’s important:
1. It helps fight xenophobic and nationalistic ideas
While having a positive and patriotic view of your country is good, thinking that all your cultural ideas and norms are the best and being afraid of anything different isn’t so good.
2. It helps youth learn more about themselves
Sometimes things are a little too close to home. We need perspective to help us learn more about our ideas and values. Global Youth Work helps create the necessary ‘distance’ between issues that are sensitive to us, while still allowing for a productive discussion about them.
For example, a student who is being sexually abused at home may not want to address the issue as it’s too personal. Looking at sexual abuse from a global perspective and how it affects others may therefore help them work through their own situation internally, bringing them to a place whereby they’re able to disclose their abuse.
3. It helps students develop and explore faith issues
(For a good explanation of this, see pages 20 & 24 of Richard Stearns’ book The Hole In Our Gospel) For my faith-based colleagues, the Barna Research Group says that only about 6% of people who are not Christians by the age of eighteen will become Christians later in life.
Faith that is lived out through actions by understanding global issues and working to make a difference to change them can be a great testimony for others who do not have a faith in Christ.
Also, according to the Poverty And Justice Bible there are over 2,000 verses about poverty and justice in the Bible, so while it may not be God’s only message to us in the scriptures, it is certainly a big one.
These are just three of the reasons why students need help thinking globally. Tomorrow, if you’re attending Open Boston, we’ll explore some techniques on how to do it. Otherwise, check back as we will have posts in the future on this topic.
Question: What are some reasons you think it’s important for students to think globally? Share your thoughts in the comments below- or tweet your thoughts with the hashtag #OpenBoston.
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