Children are the largest folk in the world: they are 2.2 billion people, a third of the whole world population!
Their conditions of life are most various from extreme poverty to the highest standards, depending to the corner of the Earth where they live in and the social status in which they are born.
They are special people who love playing, fighting and laughing together, who enjoy being light-hearted and dearly love to be well looked after.
They have no weapons but imagination, enthusiasm, trust.
They cause no harm to others although are often under serious harms caused by others.
Children live in all countries but only one flag belong to them on which is written: “Hope”.
They are the most precious treasure on Earth for they carry in their existence the seeds of the future.
All parents feel the presence of those living seeds and ask the child: what can I do for you?
And all parents give the same answer: I will do my best !
Our journey with “the living seeds of the future” starts here and will last until the time comes when those seeds blossom and shine out as independent, self-confident, self-standing young adults! until the time comes when “our children” are no longer “our children” …
Of such an end of their commitment (if it ever ends…) parents should be aware from the beginning as the whole purpose of the education is not to build up a replica of ourselves but the growth of new human beings enshrining in their heart those living seeds that will flower different from ours.
As parent, I found a great inspiration in a poetic page written by Khalil Gibran in his book “The Prophet”.
The story tells us of a wise man who has lived for long time in another town and is to sail back home. On the way to the ship many people accompany him and ask to speak one more time on various questions.
One mother with her baby asks the wise man to say something about children. This is what he replied:
“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwelling the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you,
for life goes not backward nor worries with yesterday.
you are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth…”
(Khalil Gibran, “The Prophet“, 1926, Vintage Books, London and other Editors – see all on amazon)
The image of the bow and the arrow that will fly ripping the air opens a meditative space in our soul where we may explore our role as educators and our relation with children.
In such a space we can learn to listen to our children, understand their quests, empathise with them.
On November 20 UNICEF celebrate the “Universal Children Day”: it has been set up three decades ago and has been in my opinion quite undercelebrate (especially if compared with many other “days” ….).
The choice of a date in the middle of Autumn -a season that recalls more the sunset of life rather than the sunrise of the future- might be arguable, nevertheless may this day be an occasion for the folk of adults to get out of their own troubles (political, financial, ideological, social, personal etc) and pay attention to what our children really need, what all children need whether they live and grow in developed countries or in underdeveloped and risky areas where still nowadays one out of four doesn’t survive the age of five.