In the News: The crisis in Catalonia

12 Oct 2017
How might we use the crisis in Catalonia to talk to our children about determination and independence?

This month, the Spanish region of Catalonia has erupted into furious protest after attempts to hold a peaceful (if illegal) referendum on 1st October resulted in violence between the police and the people trying to vote, with over 900 people hurt as a result.  But despite this and the Spanish government’s opposition, many of the Catalonians are continuing to protest and assert their right to decide their own future, and their leaders are on the verge of declaring independence. 

If you are watching the news with your children, pictures of these rallies would be a great opportunity to talk about determination – what makes those people so determined to carry on protesting and fighting for their independence even when it’s so risky?  What makes people do what they do?  What are you determined about?

Years ago I read of some research undertaken in America.  In one particular city they were concerned about the rising rate of pregnancy in teenage girls and when they spoke to the girls about why they had become pregnant, they discovered that many of them simply wanted a baby because they had no other vision, no other big picture of their future.  So rather than telling girls to change their behaviour, the project set out to empower them with that missing big picture –  that they could have a career or get to college – that inspired them and gave them something to aim for, and as a result, significantly fewer girls became pregnant.

And of course, what drives the Catalans is their big picture of an independent nation.  And having a big picture of their lives is vital for our children too, and part of our role as parents, extended family and church community is to help them discover that.  So we can talk to them about their hopes and dreams.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  What gifts do you think God’s given you to use for him?  What are your hopes and dreams?

And then we can find ways to help our children explore their hopes and dreams, help them to firm up that big picture.  So take a budding naturalist on that bat walk in the woods; introduce your aspiring engineer to someone at church who is also an engineer; buy your future worship leader a guitar; ask your would-be teacher to teach you a new skill.  And don’t worry if suddenly it all changes!  Your children are experimenting and exploring all that God has made them to be, and with your help, they can discover God’s big picture for them, a picture that will give them the determination to follow wherever that leads.

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Aftermath Of The Catalonian Independence Referendum © Sasha Popovic licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0