Child abuse comes in many forms; physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual. It can look like neglect, exploitation, and child labor. Think about these staggering statistics from Compassion.com:
1. Every year, between 500 million and 1.5 billion children worldwide endure some form of violence.
2. Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence.
3. Children with disabilities are 3.7 times more likely than non-disabled children to be victims of any kind of physical violence.
4. Thirty-three percent of detected victims of human trafficking are children.
5. In the United States alone, nearly half of all children have experienced at least one type of serious trauma....that's nearly 35 million kids!
So why am I pointing out these unsettling, depressing, and scary facts? Because yesterday was National's Children's Day, a day set aside to slow down our busy lives, turn off our tech gadgets, and focus on the the things that are really important....our children. Oh, I know what you're thinking, "You're a day late and a dollar short, Irwin. Children's Day is over!" But I didn't really miss it. I purposely waited until today because I firmly believe that Children's Day should be everyday; not just on Christmas...or the second Sunday in June each year.
When researching today's topic, I stumbled across a website for educators called HomeofBob.com. There, I found a beautifully written Covenant for Children that embraces the joy and gifts that are our children...and our duty, as adults, to protect them. The Covenant says, in part, "All children are created whole, are endowed by innate intelligence, with dignity and wonder, worthy of respect....Every boy and girl is entitled to love, to dream and belong to a loving village and to pursue a life of purpose." And the we, as adults, need to "recognize the early years as the foundation of life, and to cherish the contribution of young children to human evolution" and we, therefore, need to "commit ourselves to peaceful ways and vow to keep from harm or neglect these, our most vulnerable citizens." I'm not exactly sure who you are "Bob" but, well done!
Children are the most valuable asset we have. Love the little children; teach them to be peaceful, filled with compassion for others (humans and animals alike) and to respect themselves and the world in which they live. I may be late in saying this, but give your kids a hug, many hugs, every day and let them know they are loved, safe, and treasured. It's never too late to start being a better parent. You owe it to them and to the future. If we want a better world, we need to begin changing it today. And that means loving and respecting all of the planet's future stewards.