The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru whose birth anniversary is celebrated as Children’s Day on 14th November in India was a great advocate of the welfare of children. His quote, “The children of today will make the India of tomorrow. The way we bring them up will determine the future of the country,” beautifully bestows light on the enormous responsibility that the society, parents and educators have towards the healthy upbringing of our children. This day in the calendar reminds us of the huge task on our shoulders and urges us to renew our commitment to ensure our children enjoy the golden period of their lives, their childhood. Nehru’s care, concern and special affection towards children is at the heart of Children’s Day celebration. In other words, it is the day to celebrate children and the essence of CHILDHOOD.
Children are so fragile, vulnerable and highly impressionable. The day to day experiences and expressions observed by them remains with them all through their lives. The knowledge, values and skills imbibed and developed today will make them what they are tomorrow. Therefore, we need to groom them and help them grow to be responsible citizens of our society ready to take on the world. They need to be loved and cared for at this delicate stage of their lives. We need to provide our children caring and supportive environment that promotes optimal early childhood development. Dr. Haim Ginott, a renowned psychologist has rightly said, ‘Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.’ Every single day, we elders store up positive and negative information in the memory of our kids knowingly and more often unknowingly. Situations of fear, anxiety, and violence will only destroy their lives. Therefore it is critical to ensure that our children’s memory is registered with more positive and healthy information that will make them empowered and emotionally strong citizens of our society.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had realized that the future of our nation depended on our children, therefore during his tenure as the prime minister he ensured that children were provided with adequate attention in a safe and loving environment. And for this reason precisely he is fondly remembered as Chacha Nehru. He believed that education alongside healthcare were important aspects which would help children take great strides and contribute to the progress of the nation when they grow up. Nehru had also outlined a commitment in his five-year plans to guarantee free and compulsory primary education to all of India's children. Establishment of prestigious institutions across the country like the IITs, IIMs and AIIMS are attributed to Nehru who knew it well that education for the next generation was the only means to achieve lasting social change. Interestingly scientific knowledge and critical and rational thinking which are known as future skills today were already highlighted by him as the basis of all learning.
On this day of great significance that awakens awareness among people about the rights, care and education of children, it is vital that we do not fail to provide safety and security to our children. This will not happen easily rather we need to make constant efforts in achieving the same. In this context Nelson Mandela has beautifully said, “Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” Children are God’s gift to us. They are precious and full of potential to achieve great things. Children are the key to success and development in any country. India, being the largest democracy having huge child population has all the potential to make the country soar the heights of success in the global world provided our children across the nation receive healthcare facilities and quality education at the right time. The way we nurture them today will make the India of tomorrow. Children are the future leaders of our country. It is our responsibility to provide them necessary opportunities and suitable environment to live their childhood to the fullest. Let us not ruin their future by depriving them of their right to happy childhood today.
On this Children’s day, I urge our teachers to be good listeners and develop themselves as good counselors in addition to their subject expertise. I am reminded of an incident. There used to be regular thefts in one of the classrooms so one day the teacher decided to check the school bags. When she found out the culprit, without anyone’s knowledge she took the child outside the class and asked him why he was doing it? The child responded, ‘I am doing it to grab your attention teacher. I feel you do not love and care for me.’ Though the teacher was taken aback, she told the child that she very much cared for and loved him. From that day on the teacher ensued that the child was listened to, counseled and cared for. Since then, the thefts stopped. The same child grew up to be a very mature, talented and responsible person. I want to draw your attention to the fact that our children need to be loved and cared for. They need someone to listen to them and give them a safe and secure environment. I urge all the parents, elders and teachers to make our children’s childhood a memorable chapter of their lives. Beloved children on your part love your parents, respect your teachers and make the best of every opportunity provided to you so that you can grow up to be responsible persons in the society to lead our nation towards progress and prosperity.
Wishing all our children a happy and healthy childhood!
Dr. A. F. Pinto
Ryan International Group of Institutions
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