World Children’s Day 2020: Are Today’s Children Really Free?

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World Children’s Day is observed globally on November 20th as an event to celebrate the miracle of children, improve their welfare and assure their human right to education. The idea for World Children’s Day originated in 1856 when a pastor in Massachusetts, USA held a special service for children at the Universalist Church of the Redeemer. The service was so well-received that it led to the event we celebrate today.

It is up to adults to make a better future for their children. While all parents do attest to doing what is best for their young and rightly so, the question remains: how free are today’s children to actually enjoy their childhood? Childhood soon fades into precious memories and parents want to reflect on how they are ensuring that their children are enjoying their childhood while they still have it. It is sad to note that today’s children are deprived of liberty much more than their elders were, but are adults aware of how much they are suffering because of that deprivation and what are they doing to remedy the situation?
Correspondingly, parents lament having their hands tied due to changed circumstances today. Many of them recall fond memories of a childhood that they were allowed to enjoy: they returned from school, completed their homework and then rushed out to play with their friends (sometimes not necessarily in that order!), but note that today, the trees they played on as kids don’t even exist, having been cut down to make space for an urban environment, a growing society and a more competitive way of life. Many of them recall their neighbourhood being safe enough to play with the neighbourhood children, but observe that they don’t feel comfortable sending their children out to play by themselves anymore. Furthermore, the educational arena has become more driven with rising education levels, fierce competition to excel and sometimes, ambitious parents pushing their children to overachieve at school.

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