Protect The Children
That may be due to several things including:
- The sexual and physical abuses that were very much a part of my childhood
- Working first hand with both men and women who have not healed the wounds of childhood abuse and ended up being incarcerated
- Interacting daily with several persons who are still living the trauma of their past but masking their pain except with me
Contemplating today’s posts on poverty among children and how best to protect them, this children’s poem came to me:
Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
Born on Monday myself, it is Thursday’s child that concerns me. Exactly what is meant by “far to go” and how far is far in today’s day and age?
Familii Magazine offers this explanation of the often problematic Thursday Child:
“Both positive and negative connotations have been associated with Thursday’s child over the centuries. The traditional meaning is associated with Thursday children having a long, successful life without limitations. Going far in life is typically viewed as a positive attribute with children having a lot of potential and talent.
Modern interpretations for the meaning vary. Thursday’s child is sometimes associated with children having special needs or setbacks in life. This concept of ‘far to go’ implies that children have obstacles to overcome.”
The Suffering Of Children
Reading my alerts, several stories came across my screen that – had I not learn to balance my emotions – would definitely have me screaming in anger. Then there was one by a person who has recently been grabbing my attention for moments at a time – Pope Francis.
A “Practical Spirituality” is what guides my living. Religious dogmas and fundamentalist beliefs of any kind rub me the wrong way. However, it was hard not to agree with the Pope when he correctly assessed our continuing state of insensitivity towards children:
“Notwithstanding our apparent evolved sensitivity and all of our refined psychological analyses, I ask myself if we have not become anesthetized to the wounds in the souls of children.”
Pope Francis was speaking to the audience at his weekly Wednesday talk and he was “continuing a series of talks about the family.” He spoke on an issue very familiar to me – the hurts family members cause each other and he described their behavior “the ugliest thing.”
Whatever your religious, spiritual path, I think this is a seminal article that is a must read and shared widely, so please do.
Poverty And Children
There is no crime in being poor. Growing up in very humble circumstances myself, I know that poverty is just that – a circumstance and is not insurmountable.
In earlier posts, mention was made of my near homelessness a few years ago. This was never shared to garner sympathy. My friends were not told until after the fact that I was basically sleeping in a coffee shop for a few nights until I was able to find an affordable room.
This was shared only after I learned the lesson contained in the circumstance and I was rising out of the situation. Sharing now to inspire, encourage and cheer along anyone who might find themselves in similar situations. So, when I read stories of women and their children living in below standard accommodation – I get it.
“More than 93,000 children in England are living in temporary accommodation, the highest level since 2008, according to government figures. They include more than 2,500 families with children who are staying in bed and breakfast-style accommodation.This was 35% more than a year earlier, statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government showed.” Read more here.
“By the grace of God go I,” is one of my daily reminders as I walk along humility road. What I know is that we all can rise above whatever is holding us back, especially for the sake of our children. Stories like the one coming out of England about the increasing number of women and children living in places not suited for families bother me.
Poverty is real for many, millions even. The Christian Bible reads that “the poor will always be among you.” Whether that has to be the case is not my belief, especially when you read that “The wealth of the one percent richest people in the world amounts to $110 trillion. That’s 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world’s population. The bottom half of the world’s population owns the same as the richest 85 people in the world.” (Forbes Magazine)
As traditional families change, which to me is neither bad or good it is just the way of life today, children, whether born within or outside of wedlock, cannot bear the brunt of this new reality. Scanning poverty and how children are affected, here are some not-so-pretty facts:
- “The poverty rate for all children in general living in the U.S. in 2013 was 19.9 percent, but the child poverty rate for all large cities in the U.S. is at 30.6 — a much higher percentage that shows big cities are the most affected. Between 2012 and 2013, the national child poverty rate fell by two percentage points, but the big city rate only decreased by one percentage point.” Medical Daily
- “Growing up in a family with a low-income can negatively affect children and their parents. Children are at higher risk for poor health and more likely to have learning difficulties, behavioural, social and emotional problems.” Pine Ridge District Health Unit
- “There are currently 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK. That’s almost a third of all children. 1.6 million of these children live in severe poverty. In the UK 63% of children living in poverty are in a family where someone works.” Barnados
- “A new report from several Alberta [Canada – my hometown] social groups says there has been virtually no change in child poverty rates in the province since 1989. Global News
- And in Toronto – “A report released Friday says Toronto has the highest rate of child poverty in the country, a situation its authors call “the hidden epidemic.”The report says almost 30 percent of children in Toronto are now from low-income families, a situation that leaves them less likely to graduate from high school and more likely to be sick.” CBC News
These are snapshots from “big cities’ in three countries. Imagine what the data would show were it to cover more countries and a wider cross-section of our world? My question is – how can each of us make a change?
Personal Responsibility And Poverty
Yes, it is understood and accepted that men, women, parents around the world need to take personal responsibility, take steps to feed and provide for their families, step up their game. We might even go as far to say stop having babies that they cannot afford to feed.
No protest from me on any of these scores. We could also throw in the fact that those rich @#$% in our world could do more in support of the children everywhere or at least in their neighborhood. No quarrels there either.
The point, however, is that we have been saying these things for years now, fighting about them, debating and a long-lasting change is yet to arrive. Is it that it is an impossible dream? Will the children continue to be among the poor and starving among us?
Would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please comment as well as share widely with your friends and let us start a conversation while moving to make a change.
Peacekeepers of Predators?
International Relations was one of my fields of study and so the importance of diplomatic relations and the work of the United Nations are not lost on me. However, when news break – and not for the first time – about the travesty perpetrated by UN officers on those they are meant to protect it is very upsetting.
“UN peacekeepers have again been accused of sexually abusing minors in the Central African Republic, and this time the alleged victims are homeless children. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that the mission in the country, MINUSCA, received reports of the alleged abuses last Friday. Dujarric said that the sexual abuse of “street children” in the capital, Bangui, may have begun last year and continued in 2015. He added that the UN had notified the country that had contributed the peacekeepers, which he did not name, and that an investigation was underway.”
In 2012, the question was raised asking how much more would we have to take from UN Peacekeepers before they are reined in. Clearly more.
The story then read: “This is not, alas, a unique story. Documented cases of girls being victimized by UN forces – or, more precisely, the troops from the many countries who serve in UN missions – has a long and squalid history. The landmark 1996 UNICEF study The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children reported that ‘In 6 out of 12 country studies, the arrival of peacekeeping troops has been associated with a rapid rise in child prostitution’. A review eight years later concluded that prostitution and sexual abuse followed most UN interventions. ‘Even the guardians have to be guarded’, it concluded.”
The hand-wringing has to stop. Here is the question to you – how do we protect the most vulnerable, women and children in places of conflict, from those who would harm them and those who go in supposedly to protect them?
Like the Pope, I too have no answers or will not attempt to offer any. To quote him, as I invite you to share your thoughts, Subscribe to this blog and join my KB Life newsletter, let us ask “for a great faith to see reality with the gaze of God, and great charity to draw close to people with his merciful heart.”
However, let us also do something as “faith without works is dead.”
Photos: albumarium.com, pixabay. com and wikipedia.org