The more freedom we enjoy, the greater the responsibility we bear, toward others as well as ourselves.
~Oscar Arias Sanchez
A Tagxedo created by Mrs. Renton using words from the Convention on the Rights of the Child
We have been investigating the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Social Studies. There are many MANY awesome books about this, written in language that we can understand. The REAL document is FULL of language that is tough for eight year olds to comprehend. If you are interested in reading MORE about these rights, from a child’s perspective, you should try reading I Have the Right to be a Child by Alain Serres and Aurelia Fronty.
As a class, we began this discussion by brainstorming, in groups, a list of things we thought were rights. Our first thoughts were VERY interesting and included things such as:
- to read
- to have the internet
- to walk
- to have hair
- to have recess
- to laugh
After some deep discussion, and the exploration of a few incredible books on the topic, we revisited our extensive lists. We quickly discovered that many of our first thoughts didn’t really fit as basic human rights, so we worked HARD to make sure our lists represented these basic rights.
Our rights, as children, include some of the following:
- going to school
- having a home/shelter
- having clothing to protect you from the weather
- living – safely
- having enough food to eat
- having clean water to drink
- having care and medicine when you are sick
- having the right to share our thoughts
- being able to play and NOT having to work
- having a family that takes care of you and LOVES you
Along with those rights, we have RESPONSIBILITIES … and this is the HARD part!
Quality of life is not the same for everyone. We sure wish it WAS … but … we CAN make a difference!
“With GREAT power comes GREAT responsibility.”
(Although we think of Spiderman when we hear this quote, Voltaire was the FIRST to say it! )
There are MANY responsibilities that come ALONG with those rights, and it is important to take those responsibilities seriously. Many MANY of us find special ways to try to make a difference in the world. This can be as SIMPLE as giving someone a SMILE. Who KNOWS how powerful that SMILE can be? Share it with someone and you could change a CHALLENGING day into one that seems EASIER to bare! In our classroom ALONE we discovered MANY inspiring ways that families are making a difference:
5 ‘n 5 birthday parties – birthday guests brought in donations, they put these donations in boxes – one for the Drop In Centre and one for the birthday boy.
Inn from the Cold – birthday party – the guests brought in toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, brushes, nail clippers, socks, toques, scarves, gloves … to donate to the people in Calgary who need to stay at the Inn from the Cold.
Drop-In Centre – one of us raised 200 dollars – instead of gifts – guests put money in donation box – the birthday boy took the donation down to Drop-In Centre. When the family did this, the man at the front desk was surprised that ALL the birthday money had been donated instead of only PART of it!
Some of us donate food, make sandwiches and drop them off to places in need around the city.
One dad saw a homeless lady downtown, in the winter, with flip flops on … they had a conversation … he asked her what her foot size was … he went to the store and bought her some warm winter boots and then went back to drop them off … and even fed her too.
Some of our church groups make donations. Many churches and families do the Shoe Box Campaign.
Some of us have even been lucky enough to have the people in front of us buy us our drinks … kind of like “paying it forward”. That means if someone does something nice for you, then you pass it on by doing something nice for someone else.
We know that quality of life is not the same for everyone. We also know that we can ALL help to make the world a better place by being the best we can be FOR the world.
We are all human beings. We all have RIGHTS. We ALL have RESPONSIBILITIES. We wonder:
- IS there enough food in the world to feed EVERYONE?
- If we ALL have these rights … why do some kids have to work?
- Why do some families not have enough to eat?
- Why can’t everyone have shelter?
- Why do some people think the colour of your skin MATTERS? What SHOULD matter most is what’s INSIDE! (We had a lively discussion about Rosa Parks and Malala here!)
- Why do some kids have to work so that their families can eat?
- Why would SOME countries not sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child?