What does your child have to tell you on World Children’s Day?

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“On World Children’s Day, let’s stand together with the world’s most vulnerable and hardest to reach children.”

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul, than how it treats its children.”

~Nelson Mandela.

World Children’s Day is a day for children’s voices to be heard. A day for children to act. A day to stand together with the world’s most vulnerable and hardest to reach children. I wonder, even in our societies with sufficient resources to easily provide for all our children, how well we have been respecting the rights of our children with disabilities. How often do we listen their voices? How often do we heed what they say about what is important in their lives? How many children with disabilities know that they have rights?

Do you know the rights of children?

Children have the right to protection, to provisions and to participation. Children with disabilities and other vulnerable kids also have additional protection and provisions. It is recognized that without specific protection and provisions that vulnerable children will have their rights denied and suffer because of it.

It is often said (though seldom practiced,) that rights come with responsibilities. In the case of the rights of the child, it is those of us who have power that have the responsibility. Parents often advocate for their children’s rights.  Frequently though, we lay the responsibility with others for ensuring our child’s rights. Schools, government, services, etc.. And those structures are responsible. But I think that on World Children’s Day we should reflect on ourselves and our own responsibility to ensure that we are upholding our child’s rights.

Unicef has a produced a wonderful child-friendly version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is also adult friendly! I challenge you today to read through these rights and consider your own role in honouring the rights of your child. Focus on your child’s right to learn, develop their talents and abilities, to have an opinion and be listened to, to find out things and to share what they think, to have relationships, to know that they have rights…

Focus on the rights that you have the power to uphold all by yourself.

Start there.

Is there room for improvement? I know I could listen more deeply.

“Imagine a day I had a voice.

A day I was heard, listened to, and understood.

Imagine a moment I could voice my message.

A message for the world to hear.

To take a stand. Be important. Be seen. Be at the front. Raise my voice. Tell the world what is in my heart.”

The biggest dreamers really are kids. What are your kid’s dreams? What does your child have to say?

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Genia Stephen
Genia Stephen

Sister, mother, midwife, writer, speaker and perpetually curious. Dedicated to bringing you the voices, ideas and conversations of world class mentors and thought leaders in the field of disability.