Global awakening of conscience
for the protection of children’s human rights
November 20, 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified international convention on human rights in history. Thanks to the covenant, children are no longer viewed as helpless recipients of aid, and people have strived to ensure that no children are deprived of their particular rights. The international community has made great progress in terms of safeguarding children’s rights and improving the standard of living for children. However, regional conflicts, unstable geopolitics and economic recessions have seriously infringed upon the fundamental rights of children and the situation warrants further attention and actions from governments.
UN statistics show that the population of children under age 18 is estimated at more than 2 billion around the world. The trend of aging populations and low birthrates is taking shape in the new millennium. Today’s children will grow up to shoulder much heavier burdens than the current generation. What can we do to help equip them with the knowledge and skills to cope with challenges in the future? Educators and parents with vision should think deeply what the ultimate competitiveness is and look beyond competitions to create mutual benefits and collective prosperities for mankind.
Cultivating children to follow the inner moral compass is far more important than other things in the upbringing of children. The compass encompasses many good qualities such as courage, good communication, tolerance, forgiveness, wisdom, and peace. Children can carry the compass inside their hearts for life, and it can guide them along the right path of life and enable them to grow and to succeed. Besides, they will become the kind of elite that is not selfish or short-sighted but has a broad worldview and cares about people. They are able to utilize wisdom to resolve conflicts and work for the common good to benefit Mother Earth and all humanity. Conscience is the core value of what makes a human being human. Conscience is children’s most precious asset. Conscience is the foundation upon which mutual benefits and collective prosperities will be built.
Freedom and human rights are universal values and a heaven-given gift. We still have a long way to go in terms of improving healthy living and equal opportunity for children across the globe. To stay healthy, children need not mere foods but nutritious and safe foods. To enjoy security and peace, children need not merely be safe, but be physically, mentally, socially, and holistically safe. To stay cheerful, children need not a mere childhood, but a stress-free childhood where they get to play and exercise joyfully. To live in happiness, children need not a mere education, but a conscience-oriented education that incorporates the elements of morality and cultures. All these depend on our education policies, social systems, and the greater environment formed by families, schools, and societies. The level of conscience of the people in the greater environment determines the quality of our next generation and affects the destiny of the earth and all humanity.
Children originally are pure and easy to teach. With good guidance, the pure, genuine, and kind hearts of children will enable them to develop their talents, realize their potential, and become truly well rounded people. As we were all children once, we need to take time to reflect on this fact: in the adult world there is too much spiritual pollution, which has blinded our wisdom and conscience. If we are willing to learn from children, restore our pure and kind hearts, purify ourselves, and cleanse our living environment, we can nearly reach complete health, a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is our hope that children and the world’s people can all enjoy human rights in regard of good health.