Source: Examiner – Rev Catherine Gross
November 20th was Universal Children’s Day. It went by with no fanfare, and no notice. The fathers are saddened because they do not get the attention on their day as mothers do. Nevertheless, often, neither mother nor father are aware of Children’s Day. Do we love our children, really?
The word ‘love’ has is used very loosely. Not many can define it, and only a rare few understand it, it is in fact quite a dismal consideration. We struggle in our search to clearly say what love is. There are a couple of explanations we can look at. There is the biblical definition of love in 1st Corinthians 13:4-7;
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The problem with the biblical definition is it does not say what it is, it only says what it is not. Certainly we can check the dictionary as well. Merriam Webster defines love as;
(1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child> (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates
(2) : warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion <love of the sea>
The definition given by Merriam Webster is seemingly easier to grasp.
Again, the question is, ‘Do we love our children”. Here are some statistics that are worth concentrated thought.
1)A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds
2) More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse.1
3) It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 3
4) Approximately 80% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4. 1
5) More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. 4
6) Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
7) About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. 5
8) In at least one study, about 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
Universal Children’s Day was declared by the United Nations in 1924, “ By resolution 836(IX) of 14 December 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children. It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world. The Assembly suggested to governments that the Day be observed on the date and in the way which each considers appropriate. The date 20 November, marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.”
DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
Adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 1386 (XIV) of 10 December 1959
WHEREAS the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
WHEREAS the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,
WHEREAS the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth,
WHEREAS the need for such special safeguards has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924, and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the statutes of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children,
WHEREAS mankind owes to the child the best it has to give,
Now, therefore, Proclaims
THIS DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD to the end that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth, and calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals, and upon voluntary organizations, local authorities and national Governments to recognize these rights and strive for their observance by legislative and other measures progressively taken in accordance with the following principles:
To date, the only person many of us have ever heard discuss the “Universal Children’s Bill of Rights’ is Michael Jackson in his speech at Oxford University for “Heal the Children”
“As you all know, our two countries broke from each other over what Thomas Jefferson referred to as “certain inalienable rights”. And while we Americans and British might dispute the justice of his claims, what has never been in dispute is that children have certain inalienable rights, and the gradual erosion of those rights has led to scores of children worldwide being denied the joys and security of childhood.
“I would therefore like to propose tonight that we install in every home a Children’s Universal Bill of Rights, the tenets of which are:”
1. The right to be loved without having to earn it
2. The right to be protected, without having to deserve it
3. The right to feel valuable, even if you came into the world with nothing
4. The right to be listened to without having to be interesting
5. The right to be read a bedtime story, without having to compete with the evening news
6. The right to an education without having to dodge bullets at schools
7. The right to be thought of as adorable – (even if you have a face that only a mother could love).
‘Friends, the foundation of all human knowledge, the beginning of human consciousness, must be that each and every one of us is an object of love. Before you know if you have red hair or brown, before you know if you are black or white, before you know of what religion you are a part, you have to know that you are loved.
‘If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can he dealt with. A professor may degrade you, but you will not feel degraded, a boss may crush you, but you will not be crushed, a corporate gladiator might vanquish you, but you will still triumph. How could any of them truly prevail in pulling you down? For you know that you are an object worthy of love. The rest is just packaging.”
The rest of this speech is well worth reading, or even simply listening too. I urge readers to do that.
Because The United Nation’s proclaimed November 20th as Universal Children’s Day, countries all over the world celebrate that day in ways that they see best for helping children. President Barack Obama proclaimed the following for this year.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 19, 2013
Presidential Proclamation — National Child’s Day, 2013
NATIONAL CHILD’S DAY, 2013
- – - – - – -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
“Each year on National Child’s Day, America takes time to celebrate our most precious resource. We reaffirm our commitment to giving our next generation the tools to lead, innovate, and pursue their own measure of happiness.
‘In the United States of America, no matter where you come from, who you are, or how you look, you should have a chance to succeed. That is why we must build ladders of opportunity for all children — including high-quality preschool, strong education in key fields like math and science, and nutritious meals that give young people the energy to focus. Through First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! Initiative, my Administration is helping children develop habits that will let them lead healthier lives, and we are partnering with businesses, local governments, and non-profit organizations to ensure families have the information they need to give our children the happy, healthy futures they deserve.
‘Yet equal opportunity cannot exist while some parents are forced to choose between buying groceries, paying the rent, or taking their children to the doctor. Under the Affordable Care Act, new health insurance options are now available to millions of Americans. Millions of families will gain access to affordable coverage options through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, including through Medicaid in those States that have chosen to expand coverage. Thanks to this law, children can no longer be denied coverage because they have a pre-existing condition. And most health plans are covering recommended preventive services for children, including developmental screenings and immunizations, without cost-sharing.
‘With the support of a Nation and the guidance of parents and mentors, our children can lead America into a bright new age. Today, let us strengthen our resolve to provide the opportunities their energy and creativity demand.
‘NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 20, 2013, as National Child’s Day. I call upon all citizens to observe this day with appropriate activities, programs, and ceremonies, and to rededicate ourselves to creating the bright future we want for our Nation’s children.
‘IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.”
Well, we are not presidents, nor are we over nations, but what can we do of our own accord? Perhaps it would be worthy of each of us to let people know that this global holiday exists, then everyone can say what they are doing, in harmony with the rights that have been declared for children. It is actually possible to take such a matter and place it in your heart so strongly that no one and/or nothing can shake it away.
One month prior to Michael Jackson making his transition, his doctor felt the need to give him strong sedatives for reasons unknown. The doctor recorded Michael Jackson as he spoke. One would think that a person under such extreme drugs would be incoherent. However, Michael Jackson remained focused on doing his comeback show at a high quality, and on helping the children with the money he would make. We can be steadfast and focused too, absent of the drugs of course. Here is what Michael Jackson said.
“ I’m taking that money, a million children, children’s hospital, the biggest in the world. Michael Jackson Children’s Hospital. Gonna have a movie theater, game room. Children are depressed. The – in those hospitals, no game room, no movie theater. They’re sick because they’re depressed. Their mind is depressing them. I want to give them that. I care about them, them angels. God wants me to do it. God wants me to do it. I’m gonna do it, Conrad.”
‘Jackson: “Don’t have enough hope, no more hope. That’s the next generation that’s gonna save our planet, starting with – we’ll talk about it. United States. Europe. Prague, my babies. They walk around with no mother. They drop them off, they leave – a psychological degradation of that. They reach out to me – please take me with you.”
Jackson: “I want to do that for them.”
‘Jackson: “I’m gonna do that for them. That will be remembered more than my performances. My performances will be up there helping my children and always be my dream. I love them. I love them because I didn’t have a childhood. I had no childhood. I feel their pain. I feel their hurt. I can deal with it. `Heal the World.’ `We Are the World.’ `Will You Be There?’ `The Lost Children.’ These are the songs I’ve written because I hurt, you know, I hurt.”
Michael Jackson literally died thinking of how he could help the children. He wanted everyone to know about Universal Children’s Day, that takes place each year on November 20th. I would that we could all be so concerned. We can learn about it, however. There is a Facebook group called National Children’s Day Campaign (In memory of Michael Jackson). It is the purpose of that group to elevate the consciousness of all those who will hear, about this special day for children. The group is moving forward in its promise to honor Michael Jackson for all that he did for children.
The United Nations created this holiday, but it is up to us to celebrate and love our children. A little more about Childrens day. “Children’s Day is acclaimed in a multitude of countries. It is a global honor to all of our children. The World Conference began the holiday for the in 1925 for the security and happiness of children. Although it is the same holiday, each nation has given it the name they think is appropriate. In the United States it is called ‘National Child’s Day’. Following are some of the countries that recognize this day.
2.1 Argentina, 2.2 Armenia, 2.3 Australia, 2.4 Azerbaijan, 2.5 Bangladesh, 2.6 Bolivia, 2.7 Brazil,
2.8 Bulgaria, 2.9 Canada, 2.10 Central Africa, 2.11 Chile, 2.12 Greater China, 2.12.1 Hong Kong,
2.12.2 Mainland China, 2.13 Colombia, 2.14 Costa Rica, 2.15 Croatia, 2.16 Cuba, 2.17 Czech Republic,
2.18 Ecuador, 2.19 Egypt, 2.20 Finland, 2.21 Former and current Communist and Socialist countries
2.22 Germany, 2.23 Guatemala, 2.24 Honduras, 2.25 Hungry, 2.26 Haiti, 2.27 Indonesia, 2.28 India
2.29 Ireland, 2.30 Israel, 2.31 Japan, 2.32 Kazakhstan, 2.33 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
2.34 Republic of Korea, 2.35 Laos, 2.36 Malaysia, 2.37 Maldives, 2.38 Myanmar, 2.39 Mexico,
2.40 Mongolia, 2.41 Mozambique, 2.42 New Zealand, 2.43 Nigeria, 2.44 Nicaragua, 2.45 Norway
2.46 Pakistan, 2.47 Palestine, 2.48 Panama, 2.49 Paraguay, 2.50 Peru, 2.51 Philippines, 2.52 Poland
2.53 Portugal and former colonies, 2.54 Romania, 2.55 Russian Federation, 2.56 Singapore
2.57 South Africa, 2.58 South Sudan, 2.59 Slovakia, 2.60 Spain, 2.61 Sri Lanka, 2.62 Sudan
2.63 Sweden, 2.64 Taiwan, 2.65 Thailand, 2.66 Trinidad and Tobago, 2.67 Tunisia, 2.68 Turkey
2.69 Ukraine, 2.70 United States of America, 2.71 Uruguay, 2.72 Vanuatu, 2.73 Venezuela, 2.74 Vietnam