Every Day is Children's Day
Today is observed around the world as Universal Children's Day. One day organized by the human rights community to celebrate childhood.
I have been lucky to spend much of my professional life filming and meeting children. In every country I've visited people love and share a common hope for their kids' futures. There are no boundaries of race, religion, nationality or social status that alters this simple truth. Just enter any maternity ward anywhere in the world and you'll see parents looking into the nursery gleefully describing a tiny thing that looks like E.T. as the most extraordinary little person ever born... their son, their daughter, their grand-child.
It's not exaggeration to say that we see the future in our children.
Years ago, I had an opportunity to meet and interview Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said, " a child is a child of the community and that community is not just the biological family, it stretches back to our ancestors".
I like the idea that our own ancestors are aware and a part of how we treat all children. The world's great religions teach us that children require our protection, parenting and love and that we bear a special obligation for their care and well being. Treaties have been written and adopted worldwide to enforce these values, but a piece of paper is no guarantee we'll do the right thing for children.
Children are challenged in our world today. In the U.S., we have 15 million children who don't get enough food, while on any given day, two million are homeless. We have uninsured children, Dreamers threatened with deportation and children held by our government – separated from their parents at our southern border.
Around the world, one billion children, every other child, is lacking one of the fundamentals for a decent life; food, health care, sanitation, clean water, access to education, basic security. Millions of children are victims of war and displacement; 152 million children work instead of going to school.
But of everything Archbishop Tutu said to me that day, the most important was this:
"Don't think of these children as just statistics or figures on a page, they are flesh and blood. Picture the face of a child you know and love, think of your own child".
Childhood is fleeting. Children don't have the luxury of time, They depend on us to make their dreams possible, today and every day.
Not just on Universal Children's Day.