Children’s Day known as Bal Diwas in Hindi is celebrated in India on 14th November every year. This day is in honour of the millions of children of India and we also remember our Nation’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, whose birthday falls on this day.

What is the significance of Children’s Day for Parents, Educators and Policy Makers?

Children are unique and divine gifts of God. They are lovable and innocent angels. They are full of smiles when they receive love and appreciation. When they are separated from their parents, they start crying, till they are again brought together with them. They give unconditional love. They truly symbolize Lord Krishna. In fact, there is a Krishna in every child.

We all remember the sweet memories of childhood and growing up as a child. These are recollected and cherished by us for a lifetime. Children’s Day is a day of fun and frolic for the children, as they indulge in fun-filled and innovative activities including dance, feasting and competitions, magic shows and puppet shows, etc.

John F. Kennedy had stated, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”. Children are the true wealth of our Nation, and will grow up to be future leaders in various fields. Our Nation’s future rests in their hands and it is imperative that we must mould our children to be good adults and responsible citizens of this great country. Children’s qualities such as inner purity, simplicity, innocence and love and a sense of belonging distinguish their behaviour from adults.

It is up to us parents, educators and policy makers to identify the latent potential of children; nurture it and tap it to convert it into performance, so that they excel in all fields of life. Children’s Day is a day which should highlight these objectives and we must work towards these aims throughout the year.

But the vast majority of children in India lack basic facilities like health care, right to free education and opportunities for employment and wealth creation, when they grow up into adults. On the contrary, children are exposed to social evils like abuse, beggary, drug addiction, labour and violence. Children’s Day is a reminder to us of our obligations to the future citizens of India.

We must protect our children from the evils of globalization and liberalization, which glorify only materialistic tendencies in children. Our children should be brought back to our roots, our culture and traditions by measures through which they will imbibe spirituality and become good human beings with the capacity and willingness to solve problems through the power of love.

Thus, it should be our endeavour to ensure that our children are physically fit, mentally alert and spiritually awakened, in order that our Nation also has a bright future and can

lead the world towards peace in this strife-torn world.

Is our parenting correct and ideal?

Parents, who are busy in their own occupations, nowadays generally spend very less quality time with their children. Communication lines with the children must always be open so that children can confide in their parents about their vulnerabilities.

It is high time our policy makers and educators started educating parents on how to bring up their children. Outdoor sports are a MUST for children, as they foster team spirit, nurture tolerance, and inculcate a sense of give and take, and cultivate ethics and values, resulting in all-round development as responsible citizens of society. A couch potato, especially at a tender age tends to get carried away by what is shown on TV, which is usually sub-standard and devoid of value. Educationists and parents do need to realize the cost we all will be paying if this trend continues. However, lack of secure outdoors in urban centres forces parents to offer the easier option of watching TV even after being aware of the harm.

Children’s Day should act as an eye –opener for all parents.

Furthermore, facilitating the education of the girl child in India should be one of the priorities of the Government, Society, the NGOs and also the CSR of Corporates. When the barriers to knowledge are removed, it will help in creating a pool of would-be mothers who would be instrumental in alleviating the typical ills affecting a developing nation – namely, disease, ignorance and poverty. One of the root causes is illiterate mothers.

We should make a pledge to provide world class education to children in general at reasonable fees and to enable differently privileged/abled children to gain access to the same quality education free of cost. I strongly believe that differently privileged/abled children are as talented as, or more talented than the mainstream children; it is only due to lack of opportunities that they lag behind.

Finally, I list below a few sayings of great personalities illustrating their noble thoughts on children and the importance of good parenting practices. Parents, educators and policy makers would do well to read between the lines and understand and comprehend their deeper inner meaning, so essential for proper upbringing of children.

* To bring up a child the right way, travel that way yourself, once in a while. … Josh Billings …. pen name of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818 –1885).
*The best inheritance a parent can give their children is a good example.
Children need models more than they need critics. …. Joseph Joubert (1754 – 1824) – French moralist and essayist
*A common fallacy is that simply having a baby makes one a parent – which is as absurd as believing that buying a piano makes one a musician.
*Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. …. Robert Fulghum – an American author   

*Everyone likes to think that he has done reasonably well in life, so that it comes as a shock to find our children believing differently. The temptation is to tune them out; it takes much more courage to listen. …. John D. Rockefeller III (1906 –1978) – a major philanthropist
*How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child’s table. It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of an oak he had planted. …. Sir Walter Scott (1771 –1832) – Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet)
*If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. …. (Abigail Van Buren) 1918, Pauline Phillips, better known by the pen name Abigail Van Buren.
*If you want to do something positive for your children, try to improve your marriage.
*If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others. …. Haim Ginott (originally Ginzburg 1922–1973) – a school teacher, a child psychologist and psychotherapist and a parent educator.
*In the eyes of a child, love is spelled T-I-M-E.
*A hundred years from now…it will not matter what your bank account was, the sort of house you lived in, or the kind of car you drove…but the world may be different because you were important in the life of a child.
*Parenthood is the art of bringing your children up without putting them down.
*Parents can give children things or time – time is better!
*Television has changed a child from an irresistible force to an immovable object.
*There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children – one is roots, the other, wings. …. Hodding Carter, Sr. – U.S. progressive journalist and author (1907 –1972)
*What a child doesn’t receive he can seldom later give. …. Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, OBE, FRSA, FRSL (1920), commonly known as P. D. James – an English crime writer
*You can do anything with children if only you play with them. …. Prince Otto van Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (1815 –1898) – Prussian statesman
*Your children need your presence more than your presents. 
Anup Y. Attavar 
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