DEF: Any human being under the age of 18 years old that was either born in Australia or lives in Australia.

And if you asked most Aussie kids today… they would say just that. Thankfully, most kids in Australia in 2023 will grow up with some kids that don’t look exactly like them and have friends with kids whose family haven't live here their whole lives. Some might have First Nation heritage or have family heritage that is different and might also have sensory / learning or physical or mental challenged kids in their lives too. They are also taught in Aussie schools and by parents to be kind and accepting of other kids, no matter their race, size, colour, difference, disability, ability, gender or anything. All people deserve respect and kindness and today’s Aussie kids know this better than any previous generation. This makes me so happy. 

Aussie kids are Happy kids!

Australia Day is a day that currently polarises and fragments the community and in my opinion, that’s OK. As a nation we are still coming to grips with who we are, what we stand for and also...  what we’ve done to get where we are. Just like growing children, coming out of childhood into the teenage years, traversing identity and past actions is also polarising and a very challenging road. 

When I was in primary school, there was next to no education about diversity, First Nations people or even sensory kids. I won’t use the words that were common in my childhood about First Nations and other diverse and marginalised people. Yes, I am disappointed beyond words of the lack of awareness, education and inclusion in the late 1970s and 1980s as I grew up. Still, I can forgive my ignorant teachers, community and parents. They did their best and now it’s up to me (and all of us) to do better. 

I’m very happy to see in 2023, Aussie kids (including my own child) are so much more aware, informed and educated about everything than previous generations. Also, Im thrilled to see the confidence and conviction of our children in teaching their older generations about how things should be and can be and for this, I am very proud and hopeful of Australia’s future. 

So wherever you are, and whatever Australian history you happen to have, I hope that this year you embrace the Australian Spirit even more: to be inclusive, be your best, live a full life, to help others, to work together, to listen and appreciate others, to be proactive in your citizenship, and to continue to move Australia forward. 

January 25, 2023 — Jen Harwood