I had a conversation today and within it one of those lightening bolt moments. The lady I was talking to said, 'We spend most of our childhood trying to fit in. . . and then most of our adulthood trying to break out.'
Cue frantic journalling and ideas fest from me!
I started googling 'Inclusion and Diversity' and 'Advocates', 'Influencers', 'Teachers' etc. It was painfully obvious that the results absolutely validated what I had just been discussing.
All of the work on Diversity and Inclusion is aimed at . . . . Adults!
Sure there are 'tips' for introducing these essential subjects to kids - the odd 'top ten' ways to instil a more inclusive mindset - but after that, not a lot.
For adults we have entire websites dedicated to qualifications, diversity in the workplace, being an inclusive leader etc. . . . . . But to what end? If the adults we are engaging in this have never been exposed to it as children it's got to be a hefty ship to steer round hasn't it?
Surely if we spent more time working with children on diversity and inclusion, by the time they reach adulthood they would already have the emotional intelligence, vocabulary, and skills to embed these values with relative ease?
They wouldn't have decades of armour stacked layer upon layer to protect their vulnerabilities, embarrassment and shame when it comes to these paramount practices.
This appears to be a glaring mis-step in the deliverance of diversity and inclusion. We are staring too late. If we invested more time earlier in people's lives then we would have to spend less time unpicking the damage and relearning how to live into our values.
I don't have any data to hand on the benefits this could create - because the work hasn't been done to create the results, but I'm just throwing ideas into the air here -
*Better mental health
* Improved physical health
* Stronger relationships
*Reduction in crime
*Parity for gender, sexuality, disability and race.
I have found a chasm in the process and i need to dig in here to understand it more and get some workable information to make concrete plans to enable progression that will yield some data 20 years in the future.
I want to re-read this blog when i am 57 and think - YES - 2021 was the moment that we mobilised the difference. When we looked at a new way of learning and listening with our children and that was what produced the 2041 leaders that are carrying that beacon and lighting up the world in a way no-one ever thought possible.
It has to happen - it's about time.