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Every day is Children's Day... Every day is Children's Day...
by Asa Butcher
2008-11-20 10:21:24
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Often as a child I would approach one of my parents and ask, "There's a Father's Day and Mother's Day, so why isn't there a Children's Day?" The stock reply would always, without fail, be "Every day is Children's Day!" Well, I have news for you Mum and Dad: November 20th is actually Children's Day, or Universal Children's Day to be precise, so it looks as though you have to backdate some cards and gifts!

Of course Universal Children's Day has little to do with the more fortunate children on this planet; the ones who aren't at risk from war, starvation, disease and domestic violence - issues that shouldn't come within a million miles of any child. Sadly they do and it is with a heavy heart that I follow-up yesterday's World Toilet Day article that highlighted the fact that millions of children die each year due to a lack of working sanitation with another piece on the plight of the planet's youth.

Thanks to the existence of NGOs like UNICEF and Save the Children we can donate financially and hope that those few euros, pounds or dollars eases our conscience when we sit watching horrific news broadcasts during our dinner. What more can we do? Here at Ovi we often highlight these days of observance because we want to remind our readers of these problems and furnish them with more facts concerning the different situations, so I suggest that we use Universal Children's Day to inform our children about those less fortunate.

Please, don't upset them with shocking imagery or batter their own good fortune over their head, but if they are old enough and understand some of the cruel workings of this planet it would be a good opportunity to introduce some facts and suggest some ways they could become pro-active because you never know if any of them is destined to instigate change… you never know.

Universal Children's Day should also be used to remind everybody that child abuse isn't only located within Third World borders, but can easily take place next door or within our own social circles. Only last week my wife and I witnessed a mother forcing her crying young son to continuously run around a sports track despite his desperate pleas; we reported her to the sports centre staff and notified social services, but in the latter case they need a name and address in order to act.

It is important that we remember that these seemingly smaller acts when compared to ending child starvation are still just as important, especially in that one boy's life. We can forget that children have rights, in fact there is a UN proclamation entitled the Declaration of the Rights of the Child that contains the following stipulations:

1. The child must be given the means requisite for its normal development, both materially and spiritually.
2. The child that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is backward must be helped, the delinquent child must be reclaimed, and the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succoured.
3. The child must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.
4. The child must be put in a position to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
5. The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men.

 

Universal Children's Day is meant to be used as a reminder that children are, as terribly cliché as it may sound, are our future and their mistreatment or lack of respect towards them will only cause us larger problems in that same future. Educate your children today and remind them that even they have the power to change this planet's situation…

www.un.org



    
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AP2008-11-20 11:49:05
Don't blame your parents... how come your teachers didn't ever tell you there was a Children's Day? We used to do that - remember kids in war zones or so, still "remembering" and drawing about it didn't taste, in the end, as something truly proactive (the children used to think: "Yes, I will draw children in war zones, their unhappy families, lots of tanks and guns and blood and tears to please my teacher, which will be displayed in the classroom for a couple of days and then forgotten - and how will that help those children?"; ah, children are not dumb at all). Of course, we didn't remember the ones beaten up by teachers or abused by their parents.

"5. The child must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow men."
Errr... does that include propaganda art?


Dad2008-11-20 23:45:30
Damn the secrets out!


Jack2008-11-21 03:47:18
Great article of our greatest and most precious thing in our lives and of the future's greatest resource and perhaps hope of our fragile world. As a father and now a grandfather (3 grandsons!), I can think of no one standing so tall as one who bends down to help a child. But to such a one who would harm a child, it is conclusive, there are no excuses...

and this could be one of omission, such as not reporting abuse, neglect, etc. when witnessed. There are laws for those who report such abuse to be protected from civil lawsuits with the hope that they will not feel the least inhibited in reporting [even] suspected abuse. Err on the side of mercy.

And you're right, there is not a Children's Day, per se, and it is fitting and proper that such a day be at least a reminder of how indispensabile they are to their families and to society in general.

Well written, crucial points.


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