Our children Caught in the Middle of Nowhere

Valentina Laitonjam *

"Someday, may be there will exist a well informed, well-considered and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit."
Eric Erikson "Children are the future of the nation".

I don't know where I learnt this saying - maybe I came across it in my school books, magazine or someone must have told me - may be my teacher - I can't remember. I failed to understand it in my childhood but gradually as I grew up, I realized how true it is.

Childhood indeed is the most important part of your life. They say children are like clay, you can mould it in any way you like.

How exactly are we moulding our children? Early experiences establish a lifelong pattern of behavior. Researchers argue the fact that powerful negative events in the first few years cannot be fully overcome by later more positive ones.

Children are the future - the parents, workers and citizens of tomorrow. Investing in children yields valuable returns to a nation's economy and quality of life. In contrast, failure to invest in children results in economic insufficiency, loss of productivity, shortages in needed skills, high health care costs, and a nation that will be less safe, less caring and less free.

Family, environment, media, cultural factors etc play an important part in shaping up your personality. You and I are a result of these interactions - our view, perspective, principle, nature - the overall personality.

I've begun to take keen interest in children's perspective, may be because I have begun realizing certain facets of childhood and its importance as I pursue my career in Human Development and Family Studies or may be I am beginning to have an inner urge to have a better future at the threshold of adulthood. It is high time that this realization dawns in the minds of the concerned authorities.

Children are valuable assets of our society and as such what are we giving our children today? Are we really giving the environment which they truly deserve? Isn't it our duty to make this place safe to live?

It can be defended on humanitarian grounds - their rights to highest attainable standards of health; an adequate standard of living, free and compulsory education, a happy, understanding and loving family life, protection from all forms of abuse and neglect; freedom of thought, conscience and religion, subject to appropriate parental guidance and national law.

Secretary General Kofi Annan in his speech to Security Council, 26th July 2000 quoted "The Questions of children and arm conflict is an integral part of the nation's core responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, for the advancement of human rights and for sustainable human development".

I realize it is useless to talk about rights and laws in our state. Who cares anyway? There are enough of problems - unemployment, corruption, insurgency, bandhs, strikes, child trafficking and the list goes on. It is sad to see that these innocent children bear witness to such dark side of our society.

When I look into their innocent eyes, I see hope in them, I see their curiosity, their determination to acquire education against all odds, their helplessness.

I see their potential, their talent going waste and yet, they dare to dream with conviction and we, being the senior and authoritative member of the society, turn a blind eye to them. I stay thousands of miles away from home competing with my counterparts so that I emerge as a winner and serve my motherland.

I know many friends of mine who struggle, sacrificing the comforts of home, for the same purpose. Sometimes, I wonder if these innocent children will grow up as bold citizens who will be able to face competition with the rest of the world - they, who are so devoid of all the necessary stimuli and who are so less equipped in every sense.

Recently my younger brother called me from home and asked me to find a suitable school in a peaceful place where he can study. Such is the plight of my state. What if everybody start packing their bags and start leaving? I don't know what the solution is, neither am I an expert to suggest any.

All I know is that we have a duty towards our children - they are our future. They got a right to live, a right to safety, a right to express their feelings, a right to education. They have the potential to excel in all fields they close provided they are given the opportunity, guidance, stimuli and above all if they are not hindered in their course of development by certain external and unnecessary issues.

In this Children's Day, I speak for all the children of my state as I realize their plight, their helplessness and their difficulties. I also encourage them to dream with full conviction. It is high time that we do what is right without much delay and give our children the future that they truly and rightfully deserve.

Happy Children's Day!!

"One generation plants the trees, another gets the shade".

* Valentina Laitonjam writes to for the first time. The writer is currently pursuing M.Sc (Human Development & Family Studies) at GB Pant University of Agriculture & Technology Pantnagar, Uttarkhand and can be contacted at valentinalaitonjam5(at)gmail(dot)com
This was webcasted on December 07th, 2009.

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