We see a makeshift children’s ward. We see little kids who are barely past five years having bandages on their frail bodies, crutches by their bedsides and gloomy looks on their young faces. No parents to soothe them when their tiny faces twist in pain; no one to hold their hands and tell them that their return to a safe household is just a matter of few days.
Then we hear the voice of a little girl; sad, faltering but flickering with hope.
“I think about the generations
and they say they want to make it
a better place for our children and our children’s children
so that they they they know it’s a better world for them
and I think they can make it a better place”
As you might have guessed already, it is the opening scene in Michael Jackson’s song “Heal the World”.
All of us say that children deserve a better world. Some even go forth to say that they deserve the best. We say that they are the future of the world, the hope of the nation. Yet, do we restrict those hopes to mere sayings?
Today is children’s day. First proclaimed by the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in 1925, it was established universally in 1954. Back in school, this was a day we looked forward to because it meant one fundamental thing- TREATS! Unfortunately, time flies and I’ve become a person to supply treats for a couple of years. (Sigh!) But I can look back and say that I got my fair share of treats and most importantly, a happy and blessed childhood. I’m grateful to my family, school and all the others involved in that massive task. However, I know that not many can say this because of the suffering they had to undergo as a child. War, famine, family issues, poverty and many other causes can damage or even take away the life of a child.
The day we address these issues efficiently, children all over this beautiful planet can
heave a sigh of relief. Only then will October 1st be a happy children’s day, a day when we truly celebrate the future of the world.
I spoke on the topic “Lessons from my kids” for the preliminary and semi-final rounds of the Speech Olympiad at my university. Before the reader makes any wrong assumptions, my “kids” are simply the students I’ve come across during my teaching ventures. One “lesson” from them is apt to be shared on this blog- the lesson of “genuine outbursts of affection”.
My kids are experts at this. For example, one of my youngest kids said “I go mad with love when I see you teacher!”, and then there was another who declared “you are my angel.” They teach us that anytime is a good time to show that we care.
When you were a kid, remember how people asked you how much you love them? Then you would stretch out your hands as wide as you can and say, “I love you this much!” To kids, expressing affection is a natural occurrence. Once upon a time, you and I were kids too. We were quick to love and forgive. I believe that all of us have this spirit of childhood dwelling inside us. It maybe be hidden under layers of formality, but it’s certainly there.
Of course, being Peter Pan in public could be risky. I do agree. However, think for a moment. When do you show affection to your family members? Do you wait for special events like a birthday or New Year to lavish gifts upon them? Leave gifts aside, a simple hug or a word of appreciation could mean so much to them. As Mother Theresa said, “Peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world, let us begin by loving one another in our own families.”