A two-year old child was hung at a day care center. 9-year-old girl is being forced to marry her rapist. Three year old boy is considered “not normal” by his teacher because he draws purple trees. Four year old girl is getting a red card in her second week of being in pre-K because she cannot sit still in the classroom.
We can see many of these on the news, on social media and in our daily conversations with colleagues, friends and relatives. Some situations are more severe than the others of course but in the end they all are hurting our children. Are we doing enough to protect them? Are we doing anything at all to be e remedy for some and to get rid of others for good? Maybe…
I question adults who are supposed to be informed, aware and educated in these matters. I also question the adults who are in leadership positions overseeing these individuals exposing our children to such sad situations. Law makers, principles, parents… Do you take an action and stand up for these children’s rights when you see everything happening in front of your eyes or do you let it go? In some cases, do you allow it to happen?
One cannot drive before they are 16 or 18. Yet, they can be forced to a marriage while they have a long life in front of them. A life for them to figure out who they are, what they like and what they want to do in life. Their life can be ended by a delusional person who cannot control herself or who feels good after her sadistic act. They can be stressed out, crushed and pushed away with a label because of a teacher who is not capable of teaching and understanding basics of human development and psychology.
It takes all of us to speak up for our children. To speak up and to encourage them to stand up for themselves. We need to have the tools and give them what they need to do so. I hear many people saying that they do not have the tools or the resources. Then I learn that the same people never even asked the question: Do you know anyone who can help me? Are there any self help books to give me ideas about the ways I can approach this problem or challenge?
Sharing is caring. Advocating is caring. Collaborating and fighting for the cause is caring. We need to start caring about children and stop acting like we are helpless or we do not know what to do. We have power as long as we are together. It all starts with a single step, a phone call, a meeting, a question. Don’t be afraid.
When I was in elementary school, my best friend and I heard about UNICEF. We used to support the cause knowing that there are children around the world who were not able to meet their basic needs such as clean water, food, clothing, education ,and medical treatment. There are children who are being abused and raped by the adults they need to be protected by. We didn’t have jobs or any other income to make big donations but we were thoughtful. We started purchasing greeting cards that had UNICEF trademark/logo on them. We chose to do so because the proceeds were going to children from all over the world in different ways. We wanted to help break the cycle of poverty and inequity.
I was impressed and excited when I saw that my son’s school is ofering UNICEF club as an option in extended day program. When he asked me what it is I said “This is the moment”. He is an empathetic child and what can be better than him being involved in this club I thought. He came home the next day and said he was the only boy in the club. In fact, some of his friends tried to change his mind saying it would be “no fun” to be in UNICEF club. He did not care.
With his permission, I am sharing the poem my son wrote:
We should give clothing, water, shelter and love to the poor
Because shelter is for you to survive winter and rainy days
Food and water are essential to survive
Clothes are so you are not cold on cold days and hot on very hot days
Love, because people or kids that are poor should not be gloomy or sad.