One in every three people in the world is a child. In Third World countries this rises to nearly one in every two people. This issue provides an important reminder of how often the potential of young people is ignored – to our cost. In many countries, children may be used as cheap labour, often exploited and working in poor conditions for low pay, damaging both their health and self-esteem.
Young people who feel that they have no role in society and see others living well, can easily turn to crime, taking what they want by violence. Children are the future for us all. The Bible reminds us of how God views their potential. We should all work to ensure not only that young people are well cared for, supported and encouraged to reach their full potential, but also that they are allowed to share their views. The poem here has been on my kitchen wall for many years to remind me how to treat my own children.
If children live with criticism they learn to condemn
If children live with hostility they learn to fight
If children live with ridicule they learn to be shy
If children live with shame they learn to feel guilty
If children live with tolerance they learn to be patient
If children live with encouragement they learn confidence
If children live with praise they learn to appreciate
If children live with fairness they learn justice
If children live with security they learn to have faith
If children live with approval they learn to like themselves
If children live with acceptance and friendship they learn to find love in the world