I am a huge fan of Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, both powerful, life changing books. I cannot comment on how they may change your life because it would be absurd of me to think that I had so much power, but I can tell you that these two books have lead me to question the meaning of Children's Rights and the meaning of my own life.
It is common knowledge that children have the right to shelter, to protection, to food, to education, to be loved, and many would add--to be a child. I asked around a bit to see what that meant to people. "You know, to have fun, to be carefree, to enjoy life." The wistful look on this person's face made me ask the question, "And you miss that?" So many adults nowadays miss that freedom as they fill up their time with have to's and should have's. But well, today we are discussing children's right to enjoy life. A right which I believe to have become misshappen as the proverbial pendulum swings.
Echkart Tolle reminds us that true freedom comes from accepting the Now and revelling in the knowledge that every decision, if made by trusting your heart's passion, will lead you on your path to abundance of every kind. It is difficult for us to model this to children. Have you ever taken a moment to really observe a child. Observe without judgment. Try it, and you will be amazed that children already know how to do this. They have no care for time, for restrictions, for social beliefs. Yet they are curious, always wanting to discover more. They are natural communicators, using motion, facial expression, body language and the other 100 languages described by Loris Malaguzzi. They paint, metaphorically, a beautiful picture of joy, peace, and balance when left to themselves.
And then comes the adult, "Stop lieing in the dirt." "You're not supposed to paint on the walls!" "Don't eat the worm! Dirty!" And for each block, the child's natural joy turns from transluscent to opaque.
Where is the right to maintain this wonderful outlook on life, the outlook that so many of us wish to recapture? I can feel the resistence as many of you read this. You may be thinking that you have observed many children and they definitely are meek, dependent, troublesome, and generally out of balance. My suggestion is that perhaps we, the adults, are meek, dependent, and out of balance. Perhaps if we could see clearly and release the fear that keeps us in the dead end job, in the damaging relationship, or in debt, our persepctive too might change. Four years ago, I suffered a break down (more like a melt down) which slammed me into a big wall of awake. That wall had a fuzzy message that came more into focus as each day passed. It took almost three years to see the message written on the wall.
We all have the right to be at peace, to be joyful, and to experience love.
We truly are the models for the children, and each and every model provides growth, but I ask you to consider whether we truly need to educate children, or would it suffice to continue educating ourselves. I do not believe that the children are our future. It sounds cowardly. We are the future. Until we die, we make the difference. Within each of us is a seed, or many seeds, that are just waiting to be planted. I believe that the adults are paving the way for the young. Parents, educators, grandparents, aunts and uncles are a beacon lighting the way for the next generation.
Children have the right to be heard with respect.
Children have the right to observe and learn from excellent models.
Children have the right to be exposed to the extremes so that they may find their own balance. Children have the right to spiritual, emotional, and physical intelligence.
Children have the right to feel love, peace, and security.
Please tell me what children have the right to from your perspective and what that right provides. The information compiled will be used for a book I am currently working on.