Children are a gift from God. Sure they drive us crazy often but they add so much colour to our lives we just have to choose a special day to celebrate them. Children’s day is celebrated internationally, albeit on different days in different countries. In Nigeria, we celebrate Children’s Day on May 27th.
Although the choice of the date for its celebration in Nigeria was first established in 1964, Children’s day is not a National Public Holiday for all. It is more of an Observance Holiday as most non-academic institutions still maintain normal working hours. Only Nursery, Primary and Secondary School pupils/students get the day off. We sometimes mark the day with marching bands and parades organised by different schools but these days, certain organisations throw parties for children to come and have fun. NGOs and non-profit groups also use May 27th as a chance to show love to orphans and disabled children.
Some governors allow a child to govern for that day, other government officials give speeches at events on how everyone plays a part in improving the lives of children. Some religious organisations, organise programs for kids to showcase their talents and receive prayers in return. Even the Federal Ministry of Education also uses May 27th to honour exceptional students, teachers, schools and proprietors/proprietresses by giving out awards. While the media focuses on the plight of disadvantaged kids and the government’s efforts so far. It is the perfect time to give special attention to children.
It is a day to celebrate children for who they are while focusing on the welfare of children around the world by bringing awareness to those who are less privileged. The issues we ought to discuss and actually doing something about them during this period include the rights of children as regards child labour, access to education and health care services, child soldiers, internally displaced children, children who are experiencing abuse, physical and psychological trauma, exploitation and discrimination.
In some Nigerian states, there are no domesticated Child Rights Act and not all the states that have these laws enforce them. We still have a long way to go with implementing policies that will make life easy for all children. Celebrating Children’s Day annually should also be about helping children understand how their rights enable them to become happy, healthy adults.
It is easy to pass the buck to society and the government but parenting starts with us, adults. We should focus on building healthy parent-child relationships that will form the foundational experiences of our children’s childhood and teenage years. The values we inculcate in our children will determine what they will become. Regardless of your childhood experiences or your current circumstance, it is your responsibility to appreciate your children and any child in your custody.
As we celebrate children’s day this year, remember you were once a child too. Don’t forget to do something special on May 27th for the kid in you also. Your kids will see your example and reciprocate it in future. Happy Children’s Day everyone!
Featured image source: Odyssey