As a child I remember presenting my parents with annual gifts — cutouts of my handprints, coupon books of chores that I vowed to honour, acrostic poems of the word, Mother, or Father. My parents still have many of these handmade gifts that expressed gratitude and recognized the impact of their roles in my life, once each calendar year.
Closely following these occasions I also remember asking, “Why are adults the only ones with special days? Why isn’t there a day for kids?”
The response was always a version of, “Every day is kid’s day.” I was reminded of how fortunate I was to not have to go to work, to cook meals, or to pay the bills.
Without minimizing the efforts of mothers, fathers, and significant adults that fulfill invaluable roles in children’s lives, and while recognizing the importance of honouring these people, I want to highlight the importance of teaching children about Children’s Day.
November 20th is Children’s Day. It is a day to commemorate the anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in held in 1959. The convention recognized children as citizens with a unique set of rights. It recognized adults as being responsible for upholding children’s rights and recognized the government as being responsible for ensuring that children’s rights are protected.
It is true that children are the future. Children are also the present. They are here today, as children. They have the right to play, and they deserve to have that right protected. They are not just joyful, beautiful, innocent, sweet — they are also unique, dynamic, curious, capable and worthy of being listened to. Children have opinions, and they have the right for those opinions to be taken seriously.
Children have the right to quality education. The CRC outlines an education as tool to develop talents and abilities. A quality education helps children to learn to live peacefully, respectfully, and with environmental stewardship.
By wearing a royal blue ribbon, you can help commemorate the day and show your support for the belief that “Canada’s children deserve prime consideration in all economic, social and political decisions, policies, programs and expenditures” (Canadian Child Care Federation).
By talking about your ribbon to a child on November 20, you can express gratitude and recognize the impact of a child’s role in your life. For now, this might be one holiday that greeting card companies don’t yet cover. Feel free to get creative, a child might appreciate that.