By Chigoziem Ellen Onugha
Tracing from the biblical assertion;
“Children are the heritage of the Lord.
Children are rewards from the Lord.
Children are like young man’s arrow.
Children are the source of joy and happiness.
They are rewards from God on high.
Young they may be now, but great tomorrow.
The Lord Himself has placed them high, above all gods and mighty men.
So, why not come and join the blessed to make friends with God’s heritage.”
This piece is so notable that it was translated into a song. Something interesting that every child could relate to. For me, this is the most popular children’s Christian song, and a large amount of us sang this song while growing up, at bible study classes.
Nelson Mandela in one of his speeches said, and I quote;
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
Wess Stafford, President Emeritus of Compassion International once said, and I quote;
“Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.”
No matter how one looks at it, the importance of a child is never in question. It is unfortunate that children are not treated same way they are sent. One important thing people have refused to learn is the fact that every man was once a child, and whichever way a society turns out, is dependent on how that child who would someday become a man is treated.
Putting it in our traditional setting, there is an Igbo adage that goes;
“O bughi otu onye na-azu nwa”.
The above adage simply means that a child is not raised by one person. Grooming and care for children is far beyond what the parents of any child can offer. It is the duty of a society to care for and raise every child found in it.
Sometime ago, I was having a discussion with a friend. The discussion was centered on the depth of insecurity and bad leadership in our society, and a further discussion on the foundation of corruption which translates into bad leadership ensued. We discussed so much that we traced the foundation of bad leadership to how each family and the society cares for and raises every child.
Children are like a foundation. Except it is strongly built, whatever that is built on it cannot stand. Consequences for negligence on children is eternal, because it translates into what they society is.
CHILD RIGHTS V HUMAN RIGHTS
Children constitute the most vulnerable section of every society, and when we talk about rights, we oftentimes forget about child rights which is critical and an essential part of human rights.
In my own definition of child rights, I would say; Child rights are those rights that need you and I who are adults and above all members of the society, to be protected, to be respected and to be observed.
Unlike we who are grown and can enforce our rights suo moto, a child needs you for his rights to be enforced. These rights are special. We must respect that.
We should learn to give more attention to those things that can not survive except we make them survive.
“Every child is an example of the future, and every future is an example of a society”.
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