“By resolution 836(IX) of 14 December 1954, the General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children.”
3 things I did not know about Nov 20th:
- The date 20 November marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.
- The Convention is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty.
- There is a list of children’s rights including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated, and to have their views heard.
When I read the list of children’s rights, it made me realize, ironically, how vulnerable children are, and how many children are not safe and protected by these very rights. That’s likely why they exist in the first place.
We want to nourish children and give them all the resources they need to flourish. We in fact want this for ourselves no matter our age.
I’m giving workshops this November to celebrate the right children have to self-awareness – information about themselves -their needs, feelings, thoughts, desires, and wants. Self-awareness is a right every child has, and in fact one that many successful leaders share. It’s a foundational skill to build and practice – at any age.
So here’s a practice into self-awareness based on this special day of November 20th:
- Read through the list of children’s rights. There is a simplified list at the end of this article as well.
- Select 1 – just one – that you believe is important for children. Find a piece of paper and write it down. Circle or underline in. Maybe put a heart or cloud around it .
- Ask yourself a series of questions until one (or more) sticks and you answer back:
- Where in your life right now are you standing up for this right?
- Where in your life right now is that right not being upheld?
- What advice would you give to the nation that supports a child in regard to upholding that right for them?
- What advice would you give a child who doesn’t have that right upheld?
- Where in your own life could this advice make sense?
- What feelings do you have about this right? Anger, sadness, joy, fear — list all that come to mind. Where in your life right now do you have that feeling?
Thinking about something outside of you, can be a doorway to thinking about something inside of you – it can make you self-aware. Children are vulnerable, and so are we no matter our age. We all need nourishment to flourish. We all need a safe place to self-reflect and learn about our selves. If that isn’t with a trusted partner, friend or coach, then it can be with paper and pen in a journal.
I encourage you to reflect on these rights and questions and see what comes up for you.
Call to Action: >>Find the space to sit and be mindful. It’s in this space that insights have the safety to blossom and perhaps, give you the next marker on your path.
Which right calls to you strongly?
The UNCRC defines children’s rights, including… (paraphrased)
To a name & citizenship.
To know his or her parents.
To live with his or her parents unless it is not in his or her best interests.
To maintain contact with both parents if separated from one or both.
To be reunited with parents when possible.
To express an opinion, and to have that opinion taken into account.
To obtain and make known information.
To meet with others and to join or set up associations.
To access information and material from a diversity of media sources.
To protection from abuse or neglect.
If not with family, to appropriate care, taking into account the child’s cultural background.
If mentally or physically disabled, to special care, education and training.
To the enjoyment of the highest possible standard of health.
To an adequate standard of living.
To education that develops the child’s personality and talents.
To enjoy their own culture, to practice their own religion and to use their own language.
To rest and to engage in leisure, play and recreational activities.
To participate in cultural and artistic activities.
To be protected from child labor.
To be protected from illicit drugs.
To be protected from sexual exploitation or abuse.
To be protected from trafficking.
To protection from all other forms of exploitation prejudicial to their welfare.
To be protected from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
To not be made a soldier.
To be protected from armed conflict.
To be protected from pornography.
To rehabilitation if a victim of violation of the rights.
To have a due process of law.
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