Learn to Listen

...we must commit ourselves to listen to the voices of younger generations and the challenging messages they may bring to light.

Going for Growth, 2010

There's nothing more frustrating than thinking that no one is listening to you. It's a feeling children and young people often have.

In church, we are very good at deciding what children and young people need, telling them what to do, making decisions on their behalf. We forget that children and young people are the church of today. They have a wealth of ideas, suggestions and insights to share if only we will give them the time and space to do so. When we learn to listen to what they have to say, it will shape, challenge and change the church in exciting ways.

Learn to Listen offers a wide varietyof resources, ideas, suggestions and practical advice to help you take the first steps towards listening to the children and young people in your church community and beyond.

The good news is that you don't have to be an expert, or a youth leader, or a teacher. Anyone can listen - we'll help you learn how.


Why Bother

Every child has the right to say what they think in all matters affecting them, and to have their views taken seriously.

Article 12: UN Convention of the rights of the Child, Unicef 1989

Adults are very good at telling children and young people what they need to do or learn. We tend to think we know best. But children and young people are full of ideas. They often notice things which adults miss. They have views and concerns which can help shape the church and the world. Listening to children and young people is important. Often adults make assumptions about and decisions for them without taking into account their thoughts and concerns. We need to learn to listen to what they have to say so that they can be involved in:

  • Challenging our assumptions
  • Shaping the future
  • Planning
  • Decision making
  • Bringing about change
  • Evaluating impact

Listening to children and young people in this way will help to challenge and shape the future of the church.

Don't assume you know what's best for us without our opinions. You don't. Maybe you know what would be best for you if you were a child, but you're not in our minds now, are you?

16 year old, The Good Childhood Inquiry