Saturday, September 22, 2007

Child Honouring

As a child growing up in a Christian home I was continuously reminded that it was my duty to honor my parents - in other words - whatever they asked of me I had to do or else...
Our country has endured many generations of this type of child raising. As a result we have some of the highest rates of incarceration, drug use, poverty, single parent families, child abuse, domestic abuse - you name it, America has it in spades. I know that many people out there want to blame the liberals, the blacks, the Hispanics, the Latinos, the gays, the lesbians, the cats, and the dogs. But the simple fact is that we made this mess ourselves by adhering to a philosophy that puts money ahead of all else. Why do so many kids not have health care? Because we've allowed corporations to take over our health. Why are kids in daycares for 9 and 10 hours a day? Because single parents have to work, spending up to half their wages on the daycare. Why are our children suffering from depression and becoming overweight? Because they live in a world that doesn't see them, where they are left prey to advertising that tells them what they need to be happy and fast food in their schools that pumps them full of sugars and fats. And if a family can't make it? If a child is abused? If a child is neglected? Then it was obviously the mother's fault - or the father if he's still around.
My childhood sucked! I survived sexual, physical, mental and drug abuse. It's taken me decades to become whole again. What's worse is knowing my story isn't the unusual one. 1 in 4 women in America are sexually molested by a family member, primarily fathers and stepfathers, by the age of 18. I refuse to stand by and watch other children endure what I did. I now have a 3 year old daughter and I teach Sunday School at my UU church. As a teacher I've discovered the music and philosophies of Raffi. He's recently introduced his idea of "child honouring". And what a great idea! Instead of honoring adults (not including our sage seniors) we honor the youngest of our society. If we adopt his ideas fewer children would endure what I did and the planet would begin to heal.
What an extraordinary idea - to "organize society around the needs of its youngest members". This requires we treat our children like the creative and amazing beings that they are. It would change our habits at the core. It insists that we have affordable and well-trained child care facilities. It requires that our child care workers be paid in accordance to the vital role they play in our society. It suggests that we learn to live sustainably, detoxifying our environment for the health of our young. Raffi discusses his ideas eloquently and fully at his website.
I encourage all those with dedication to healing our lives and our planet to visit Raffi's site and covenant with us to honor our children.

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