”Children are our most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”~John F. Kennedy
Today in Nigeria, we celebrate Children’s day. Yet many children are suffering. With so much at stake since they are our future, we need to do better as a community, locally and globally, in raising our children.
Looking back at my childhood, I smile as I remember the good times. Growing up in a quiet neighborhood in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria, I was blessed to have been born in the 1980s.
It took a village to raise me to be the woman I am today. Thankfully I was raised by parents who let me be a child. As I grew older, I was assigned responsibilities, but that never stopped me from enjoying the thrills and joy that comes with childhood. In playing with my friends outside, I learned how to communicate and voice my opinions at an early age.
My parents also provided me with books, that is perhaps one of the best gifts they gave to me. In the end I am who I am today because the grown ups in my life planted seeds and watered them until I grew up.
When I look at many of the children around me, I feel like crying. Life is no longer straightforward. There are now so many new dangers out there that children have to deal with. Also, there has been an erosion of culture over time. Some of those values we were taught as children are no longer being passed unto the next generation. When I think of my future children, I realize that I am going to have to be very creative and go beyond the average standard to give them what they need.
Yet we live in a world where racism and injustice go hand in hand. Today I woke up to the news of another Black man being murdered, and I am angry. I am tired of being afraid of the violence meted against my fathers, brothers, and sons in America. In Nigeria, there is poverty that keeps many young children on the streets. Instead of being in school, you see them hawking and trying to earn a living.
What happened to the innocence of childhood? Is it only for the rich? These are some deep questions we need to ask ourselves. Are you only concerned about your children? What about that child who begs on the street?Or the child in Foster care? What about the immigrant child?Who is speaking out for them?
Today, even though I am not yet a mother, my heart goes out to the children who have no place to call home. My heart thinks of my future babies, and I am going to start doing my part in helping to make this world a safer place for children. At the end of the day I want my children and all children to have the best life can offer. I want their lives to be better than mine. They deserve the right to a childhood, they deserve to be treated with respect.