27 May 2016
There is a Biblical passage that warns the youth not to let anyone look down on them because of their age.
Though doable, this has got to go down as a difficult thing to achieve in a traditional African (Nigerian) setting. It is a common Nigerian saying that children are meant to be seen, not heard. A lot of grown ups in Nigeria today grew up with this saying, using it as the background story for bringing up their children.
These days, things are slightly changing. Children born these days are bolder, more assertive and more vocal of their views, thoughts and opinions. Though pockets of resistance to this juvenile expressionism still exists, they vary in consistency and persistence.
Adults who have seen and traveled the world and understand the importance of a vocal child appreciate their children’s ability to express their views. However, only if they do not cross the line of respect.
The idea of a day to celebrate children was borne out of a need to first; promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and second; to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children.
To this end, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF set aside the 20th of November of every year for the Universal Children’s Day celebration and impressed on all nations of the world to also have separate days when they celebrate their children and create opportunities that help improve the social, mental and physical well-being of all children.
While a country like Australia sets apart the entire fourth week of October every year to celebrate children, Nigeria has but one day; the 27th of May. Though it is but one day, it is a day that is eagerly anticipated and celebrated by all and sundry, especially children and their caregivers. Considering the excitement that greets the Children’s day, the Nigerian government might as well start considering making it a week or a month long celebration.
For once every year, the history, culture and tradition that sought the silence of youth will be set aside and the children will be allowed to be seen as well as heard, and equally be celebrated.
Thousands of school children will flock stadiums all over the country to participate in the Children’s day march past. Public and private organizations will hold events tailored specifically for children and some members of the National Assembly will strive to pass bills aimed at improving the welfare of children.
Today, in certain states all over the country, a march will be taking place to end violence against children. Various civil society groups, activists and individuals will come together to fight for the vulnerable and voiceless children who have no one to give them the authority to do more than just being seen. With this, children can be proud to say that on this Children’s Day, they are worth remembering.
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.