Long gone are the days where children were only seen and not heard. In our beautiful country every child has rights just like adults, but it also falls on us as parents, teachers and role models to ensure that children are educated in this way and au fait with everything they deserve.
The South African Constitution’s Bill of Rights (Section 28) talks about the rights that children have. As a parent, your should give your child a name when they are born and they have the right to be looked after and become part of the family. When it comes to work, that is something that should be left to adults. A child should not have to work when they are tiny humans. Child labour can make them tired and sick. This includes children being forced to beg on the side of the road – something that we tragically see often when driving to work or sitting in constant Joburg traffic.
As the leaders of tomorrow, children need be nurtured and grow up in a safe environment with food to eat and somewhere dry and comfortable to sleep. As for the the right to education and medical care, children need these special rights, because they are vulnerable and an integral part of the community. Having said all of this and how we as adults need to enforce this, a lot of responsibility needs to be instilled in children from a very young age.
Even though children have a lot of special rights, they need to know the difference between what it means to have a right and to be entitled. As much as children have a right to a warm home and a good education, they need to understand that they have the responsibility to keep their home clean and neat and to respect the teachers that stand selflessly in front of a classroom. Of course children are going to make mistakes, but they also need to learn from them and make sure the mistakes they make, contribute to their foundation and moulding in becoming a good citizen.
Children need to be taken seriously, but they need to be aware that with being taken seriously, comes the responsibility to listen to others and take their advice. It is vitally important that the youth are educated about wrong and right. Where the glitch comes in with today’s teenagers is the fact that they believe the world owes them something and entitlement is rife! It is up to us to set the example and nurture our children from a young age to ensure that they are the best version of themselves when they grow up to add value to our country. Charity begins at home!