Every kid deserves an even chance to thrive, but for many young Australians the odds are cruelly stacked against them. This is no accident – it’s how the adults have organised things. At home and at school, it’s the comfortable receiving the most comfort and the lucky ones who get most of the breaks.
In the past 30 years we’ve allowed ourselves to become a society where the unlucky are left behind and where the weakest among us are undercut by the indifference of the strong. And this dynamic is plainly visible in our neighbourhoods and schools. It’s played out in the lives of children every day. In our own city. Such a situation isn’t just unfair and inhuman, it’s unsustainable and as a nation we need to take a long hard look at ourselves. We need to rearrange our priorities at a systemic level, a political level, a community level. In short we need a humane revolution, an insurrection of common decency. And I hope and pray that revolution comes soon. But until things change at the systemic level, ordinary people have to do what they can, face-to-face, person-to-person, to redress the balance.
This is why I’m so heartened by a community group like 12 Buckets. Here is a bunch of ordinary, dedicated, decent people who dare to make a difference at the neighbourhood level. Here are people giving what they can where and however they can to add to the chances of kids who just need a little extra help, a bit of added attention, kids whose needs simply cannot wait for the country to have a proper revolution.
Education is not a delivery system for knowledge. And gaps in learning cannot be magically filled by technology. Teaching is about relationships. Human contact. We learn by being noticed and heard by others. We learn and grow when we are valued. And let’s face it, the value you place on a person will determine the expectations you have of them. There are just too many kids we leave unnoticed and therefore unvalued, and our expectations of them are shamefully low. Sadly, the outcomes are plain to see.
Turning things around at a national level will take a generation or more. But all changes of heart begin in the home and in the street and in the playground. They happen over the fence, person to person and face to face. 12 Buckets is a case in point. It’s a bunch of folks who see a need and step in. Sooner or later you ask yourself ‘If not me, who? And if not now, when?’
If you can help 12 Buckets to notice kids in need and to add to their sense of being valued face-to-face, then please lend your support however you can.
Author and 12 Buckets Ambassador.