I recently returned from Pormpuraaw, which is a remote community on the Cape York Peninsular. We were invited to facilitated three days of workshops with over 100 young Aboriginal people from the surrounding communities. Together we worked towards a vision for communities and recommendations from the young people to community leaders and government. During the course of the week, I was able to witness the beauty of our communities from the wonderful young people living and working together to the breathtaking landscapes and nature that we are so fortunate to walk alongside.
We looked at what is the current experience of young people in communities – the good and the bad. Then we asked them to leap 10 years into the future and reflect on the shape of communities in 2024. The challenges faced, the victories and the things that make them proud to have overcome and achieved. It was a wonderful exercise in vision creation that allowed large issues or generational issues to be viewed from a different perspective, a perspective of hope.
On our long flight back to Melbourne, I took the time to reflect on the vision the young people created during the week, and the reoccurring theme which was the young people consistently want the next generation to be able to walk with feet strongly planted in culture and communities and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams; no matter what they are or where they may take them. A pretty inspiring vision.
To me this spoke of the powerful notion of ‘Legacy’ and delegating trust to younger generations. Trusting the lessons we are able to pass on, and empowering choice with the belief that it is not our journey that the next generation must walk, it is their own.
An old high school teacher of mine said to me that the only way to achieve immortality is to pass on knowledge. It is something that has stuck with me since grade 9 where I sat in his science classroom in Tamworth. It sparked something in me; how will people remember my words or my actions? But, I realize now it is less about words and deeds and more about what will people do after hearing my words or seeing my actions – to me that isn’t about being remembered in the pursuit of immortality, it is about acknowledging your own mortality and empowering or trusting someone else’s ability to become immortal. This is true legacy.
If the next generation will inherent the world we leave behind then we need to acknowledged that this isn’t our world at all – we are simply seat warmers for the next people and all we can do is ensure the world is in the best state possible when it is their time to lead.
This isn’t about the physical environment or climate science, it is actually about every aspect of our lives that leaves a mark on someone else. It is about the decisions we make on a daily basis, it is about the way we look out for each other and it is the way we engage, support and teach our young ones.
The truth is that no one can know the future but you can help shape it today. Take sometime to consider the following…
What lessons will you leave behind?
What actions will you inspire?
What will be your legacy?