My Pledge to Children

Image by Anneka Farrington

Image by Anneka Farrington

My Pledge to Children

The world-wide, systematic oppression of children is so entrenched in our societies and within the human psyche, that most of it is utterly invisible. The more obvious forms of violence against children include domestic violence, war, poverty, starvation, slavery and abuse within societal institutions. Yet, underneath these visible manifestations of violence are insidious ideologies of oppression that pervade the human system of ‘caring’ for its young. 

Globally, human cultures treat children as lesser. Social models of child rearing and education are based on the systematic manipulation, punishment, control and disempowerment of children. No wonder human societies remain stuck in generational cycles of personal, social, cultural and environmental forms of violence.

There have been social movements to uphold the rights of those who experience discrimination based on gender, class, sexual preference and many other factors. Certainly there is a fundamental need, if humans are to progress to living nonviolently, to address the basic human rights of children and to uphold the autonomy of children. There is a glaring need for a children’s movement.

So I write this pledge as an individual and as a parent, because the way we treat children is absolutely critical to our progression to a nonviolent, sane and compassionate world.

My Pledge to All Children

Child, I see you as an utterly unique expression of life, 

innately beautiful, whole, with a self-directed intelligence and with 

unique and special gifts to offer the world. 

I will listen to you, so you know how to listen, first and foremost, to yourself.

I will keep you safe from the harm of violent adults and a violent culture. 

I will enable your full emotional expression.  I will listen to your anger, fear, sadness, any emotion.

I will listen to what you feel, need and want. I will also be honest and clear about what I feel, need and want.

I understand your behaviour is an expression of your inner feelings. I will not punish, reward, manipulate, coerce, control your behaviour or violate you in any way. 

I will listen, understand, negotiate, collaborate, guide at times and be guided by you at other times. I pledge to build a mutually assertive and empowering relationship based on mutual listening and respect.

I respect your views, your opinions, your autonomy and your self-directed living of your unique life path.

I will love you and show my love every day.

In making this pledge, I know I will make mistakes along the way. This is not about being perfect, this is about declaring intention and living that in a genuine, if flawed, way. 

Child of the future, I offer the wisdom of the past,  built on mistakes and successes,

so that we may walk this present 

hand in hand, in safety, friendship and love. 

Child, may you know the wisdom and brilliance of your own body, heart, mind and spirit

so that you may live a meaningful, loving and fulfilled life.

Anahata Giri

July 2019

This piece is inspired by the article My Promise to Children, by my friend Robert Burrowes