Updated: Jul 27, 2019
Definition of a young carer from the Carers Trust:-
A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.
Working with the few young carers that I work with can at times be completely overwhelming.
After an event the conflicting feelings of despair, exhilaration, inadequacy and joy, (to name but a few) can swirl around and around in an ever increasing tide of emotions. Hence my need, this evening to put a few words down and try to straighten things out a little for myself, whilst hopefully reaching a few people who may also want to try and make a difference.
Today I taught a few introductory Yoga sessions at an event held by the amazing team at Romsey Young Carers. In the past I have helped Young Carers groups with tasks ranging from transport to litter picking at their annual festival at Fairthorne Manor as well as other yoga classes. So whilst I am not the worlds leading authority, or most active volunteer by any means, I have interacted with several over the years, and a day like today always makes me feel the same.
That our world is such a ridiculous place, that children as young as 5 (yes you did read that right) have to live with the burden of caring for a friend or family member as our egotistical politicians and industrial fat cats continue to spend more time feathering their own nests than interacting with real people and helping fix the issues that they are faced with on a daily basis.
I want to wrap my arms around them all, let them know they are loved and make sure that everything is going to be alright. Problem is, (a) it is certainly inappropriate at best to hug people I hardly know, especially vulnerable children and (b) most likely everything isn't going to be alright. Yeah, the same shit they have been managing for years isn't going to magically disappear and the world isn't going to suddenly turn into a fun comfy place.
The Young Carers that I interacted with are amazing humans. For sure, some might be a little disruptive, some might not engage with others or appear sullen and downcast. But hey, I'm hardly in a position to criticise anyone for their poor social skills or lack of interest in others. Here's the thing though, the joy they find in spending time with their peers, is stunning to experience. I guess given the challenges of everyday life, that they don't always manage to relax and just do stuff for the sake of having fun, so when they get the chance to do so they embrace it wholeheartedly.
These people are the future for humanity. They have an insanely uplifting balance of maturity well beyond their years, a work ethic most of their generation almost completely lack, yet at times retain a playful and infectious sense of fun. If you are an employer seeking new staff I would suggest you consider that anyone who states they are or were a Young Carer is worthy at the very least of interview. In fact, perhaps you should be actively seeking them out.
Young Carers; It is not you who should be grateful for my time, although the thanks are always gratefully appreciated. It is I who should thank you. To spend time in your presence is an honour and privilege for which I am so grateful. I wish I could do more and hope to find a way to do so.