23 December 2023
End of year reflection and greeting
As I cross the border with my commuter train this morning to go to my last day of work before the winter holidays, I think about the difference of the everyday-reality children and young people across the world live and breathe today. Some wake up to the sound of bombs, others to the quietness of hiding along a refugee route. Some have had their houses swept away by storms intensified by the changing climate, others are drawing their last breath as they are swallowed by the sea, never reaching the distant shore of hope for a brighter future.
I look out over the dark gray waters beneath me as the train crosses the bridge between Sweden and Denmark and realize I forgot my driver’s license at home. That means I have no ID to show the border control’s potential spot check when I return this afternoon. Never mind, I look Scandinavian enough to have talked myself out of that situation before. “Born privileged”, is the next thought that comes to mind and my heart sinks as I think about the inequity of opportunity children have depending on where they are born. They bear the brunt of the wars their parents fight, the intergenerational trauma they may carry, the racism they experience and their sometimes destructive coping mechanisms.
As the train continues under a grey sky, I am filled with mixed emotions, sadness, empathy, rage, and gratitude. Life is living in the tension between seeing my own children having everything they physically need and more, and at the same time not taking a second for granted, not growing numb to the plight of millions of children. I take a deep breath and choose to transform those emotions into determination, unwavering solidarity, into renewed energy and wonder at the thought that I get to work with a group of diverse, dedicated and brilliant people with a united ambition and vision of seeing “a world that protects and cares for the mental health and wellbeing of children, youth and families living in adversity”. This is my chosen privilege.
A huge thank you to all of our partners and friends of the MHPSS Collaborative for the year 2023. Your support and commitment to the joint cause matter more than you can imagine.
For those who celebrate, Merry Christmas, and a hopeful new year to all.
Director, The MHPSS Collaborative