Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Every child has the right to happiness


“This post is part of a series inspired by the Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) campaign, hosted by Stepping Stones Nigeria. Please add your name to the PACT petition to prevent abuse of innocent children in the Niger Delta and visit the site to find out more at http://www.makeapact.org

My own enchanted childhood

The rights of a child are sacrosanct and that is one cause dear to my heart. Compared to many of my peers in Nigeria, I had an enchanted childhood. I was well provided for, I attended the best schools, I was encouraged to explore, enquire, question and discuss.

My parents, and I cannot tell about the sacrifices they made to make my life comfortable, we had servants, drivers, chaperones, helpers and yet we were not spoilt, what was needful was provided but nothing to excess.

Below the surface, there were problems but none took away from the love and care that I received at home and make for fond childhood memories.

They could afford it that I had a bicycle to ride out to adventure, when I had to travel long distances, I was put on a plane when my other colleagues travelled unaccompanied by train from the North to the Southwest.

We must make the happy child

Though the times in Nigeria might have changed, the need to ensure the happiness of the child has not. Too many are abused, neglected, buffeted and challenged; exposed to unimaginably harrowing life experiences and almost without hope or respite but they have spirit and they have courage in such dire circumstances and hardship where the adults that impose such conditions are worthy of excoriation, shame and punishment as severe as Jesus once advised – that a millstone be hung around their necks and they be dumped in the middle of the sea for their cruelty towards children.

A child needs love and love is more than food, shelter, clothing, schooling and scolding, the child is human first, young, needing, trusting and yearning.

A hug, a kiss, a listening ear, a show of kindness, a merciful act, a helping hand, wiping away a tear, an encouraging word, a joke to make them laugh, be compassionate, allow some play, go on some holiday and maybe grant a wish – the memories of a child endure, the most insignificant act of good can be a life of lasting gratitude.

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

In the words of the lyrics written by Christopher Tiongson made into hits by the likes of Whitney Houston (Performed at the 1986 Grammys) we must remind ourselves of the following words:

I believe that children are our future;
Teach them well and let them lead the way;
Show them all the beauty they possess inside;
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier;
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
.

Every child has the right to happiness.

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