I remember when my daughter was just a toddler and was learning her numbers and alphabets for the first time; it was an amazing experience for all of us. I think for her, she was excited to find out that she could begin to say words that other people could understand; which was a big advancement from the babble we had become accustomed to. For me, as a mum, I was really thrilled that she was “finally talking” and that I could say a simple word and she would repeat it after me.
Well, that was several years ago, and all that has changed. Now, my five year old daughter has grown in leaps and bounds, which is to be expected anyway. The interesting thing though is that her vocabulary is growing faster than I expected it would –maybe that’s just me still seeing her as the diaper-clad toddler grappling with her first few words, but it still surprises me how she goes about correcting pronunciations, reading out words she sees and chanting lines from her favourite cartoons. I’m curious about what little lady she would grow into in another five years.
Unlike planting and waiting to harvest agricultural produce, watching a child bloom is an adventure of a lifetime. However, it is not one to be taken lightly as you cannot expect a ‘good’ harvest quite by accident. It is something which requires time, care, dedication, discipline, and oftentimes some form of assistance from other people. Just as it is important to follow the principles of sowing and reaping, childcare also requires that certain things are in place to create an enabling environment for your children or wards to thrive and reach maximum growth and development.
Mind you, I am not about to give you a fancy formula for producing the next president of the country, or anything of the sort, I am merely going to remind us, just as I was recently reminded by my daughter, about those basic things that create that environment. My daughter calls them her rights, and rightly so. Shortly before they closed for the term, she came home singing a song that caught my attention and gave me cause to think. The lyrics to her song are:
I have my rights, I have my rights;
Right to be fed;
Right to be clothed;
Right to be protected;
Right to be educated;
These are my rights, I know my rights.
These may seem easy enough to accomplish, after all, what parent or guardian would not provide food or shelter or clothing for their little ones? What I would like to remind us of however, is that we need to ensure we are providing these things in the right proportion and value.
Right to be fed: We don’t need to stuff our precious ones with junk to make up for the insufficient time we spend with them. A good balanced diet, supported with lots of fruits, veggies and water is exactly what they need to be and live healthy.
Right to be clothed: Kids need to be dressed in age-appropriate outfits at all times. You find children dressed in styles and designs of clothes that should only be worn by older people of their gender. They also need to wear whatever clothing ensures they are protected from the changing weather.
Right to be protected: Now, this could take a while, but rather than bore you, I would simply say; do all you can to ensure the overall protection of your little ones from people who would prey on them physically, sexually, verbally, spiritually and emotionally.
Right to be educated: This certainly goes beyond the formal education offered by schools. It is our responsibility to ensure that they are well educated formally and otherwise as a well-rounded education; which includes morals, ethics, manners, religious education and so on, ensure our children are equipped to enter society.
We mustn’t truncate the futures of our children and wards if we expect them to be fully developed emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically. Let’s create the right environment so that we can enjoy the harvest.
These are their rights.
Photo credit: Ann Cutting/Corbis