At long last, after 3 years of youth work and 2-3 years of developing our ‘buddygroups’ online support platform, we’re now beginning to reinvigorate the Children’s Fire Movement (CFM). As part of the process of re-membering I was going back through some old CFM Facebook posts and this article by George Monbiot caught my eye – not only because I’ve recently had direct experience of this, but also because it speaks to one of the biggest challenges facing us at this time – our dwindling connection to both the natural world and to one-another.
During my time guiding young teenagers in the burbs of London I was both challenged and deeply saddened by the level of disconnection with nature that I witnessed among many of the young folk. Not only did very few have an affinity with their environment (or any basic knowledge of flora, fauna and the natural processes) but many behaved as if it was an existential threat – an unknown entity that could infect them at any moment. The natural world was an unforgiving place to these individuals: the elements threatened to destroy their precious ‘smart’ technologies (which they had an almost unbreakable connection with) and it sought to foul their white trainers and new Armani jeans. For some, the trees simply became objects upon which they could release their pent-up frustrations by snapping limbs and beating trunks with fallen sticks.
Whilst writing this I had a flash-back to my son’s 7th birthday party where we’d setup a campfire in the local woods. His friends, all local country children, were doing the exact same thing as the teenagers I worked with – bashing the living daylights out of any nearby plant-life that they could find. I know that some will say that they were just ‘boys being boys’, which they were of course – and they were having fun in the great outdoors, which these days is an increasingly rare and wonderful sight. And, for me, their innocent child-play was far from reflecting any sense of meaningful relationship with the natural world or any deep caring for life that in many cultures would be considered the ‘norm’, whether very young or old.
It’s not just our disconnection with nature (right across the age demographic) that is increasing, it’s our disconnection with one another. What is war after all? War and increasingly, terror, are extreme extensions of this same phenomenon – we often fear what we feel separate from and don’t understand and as we know, ignorance and fear can take humanity to the most darkest of places.
The great positive in all of this is that it’s a trend that can be reversed as, of course, everything that mankind creates begins within the Self (including our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and opinions) whether they are deeds of terror, or deeds of profound love and compassion. Our accelerating societal disconnection with the outer world is therefore a reflection of the disconnection inherent within us – an inner dissonance that creates many of the dis-eases that are now so commonplace in our societies, such as stress, anxiety and depression to name but a few.
There is a real need for us to recognise that human ignorance and judgement are at the root of our separation
The solution, from our perspective, is not to blame, incarcerate or eliminate – we’ve been trying that one for how long now? There is a real need for us to recognise that human ignorance and judgement are at the root of our separation – which in turn create further division, ignorance, fear, intolerance, violence (towards self and others)… and so the cycle continues.
At the CFM we hold the viewpoint that everyone is doing the very best that they can in each and every moment – and that the patterns and their underlying beliefs are mostly a product of our life experiences/conditioning. When we are able to transform ignorance, separation and blame into understanding and compassion we are then able to create real, credible opportunities for life-affirming change that benefit everyone.
This can all sound very simple on the page – however, it’s not always so easy to fully live by these understandings and to incorporate these perspectives into our daily lives.
Supporting individuals and groups with becoming more deeply connected and more resilient in life, which in turn directly supports our health and wellbeing, is central to the aims of the Children’s Fire Movement.
To meet the increasing pressures and complexities of 21st century living and to support people in reconnecting to the fullness of Life, we have co-created (with our parent company buddygroups) an accessible and contemporary training programme called the one programme. The one programme (which is a prerequisite for our CFM Guardian Memberships) is an introductory online training (for adults, young and old) that draws from an ancient, holistic system of the Americas. It uses eight deep wells of wisdom and provides both a map and a compass for navigating our relationships with Self, one another and the world we are a part of.
I do remain optimistic. There is a great awakening happening across the world – let’s choose to be a part of it and leave a brighter legacy for our future generations.
Founder of the Children’s Fire Movement and buddygroups CIC
PS: Please do contact us via our web form if you are interested to know more about any of the above and/or would like to ask us any questions.