It is absolutely pleasing for me to be here again today. I am persuaded that a platform is never given. It is brought into being through God’s grace and wisdom. I have come to the irresistible conclusion that if I must be heard on this matter of child protection, I must not remain silent or be overwhelmed by the state of affairs. I must pick up the gauntlet of Social Empowerment Advocacy and continue to fire the salvo of enlightenment at every gang-up against the destiny of the African Child. Therefore faithful friends, who keep a date with me here every day of the week, join me today as I do yet another battle of child protection.
Permit me to share with you the 4th Attributes of a Child-Friendly Workplace: give children’s day as a day off for parents or allow parents to bring their children to work once or twice a year, particularly in the times of emergency. I believe a child-friendly workplace will give parents the opportunity to be with their children on children’s day. Children’s day is a day set aside to celebrate and appreciate children. It is a day to also call attention to specific matters affecting children. I do not think any other person is better placed to celebrate the child than the parents. The picture of the children’s day today is not encouraging.
The schools give the children’s day to the children as a holiday. The children instead of spending the day with their working parents end up spending the day with house helps and others than their parents. The only children, who may spend time with their parents, are those whose parents are self employed or play top management role in their workplaces. To my mind, what makes the day special is not that the children are not in school. What makes the day special and memorable for the children is who they spend the day with. Therefore it is not enough for the children to be taken out by the assistants of their parents. They should spend the day with their parents.
While I understand that the parents need to be encouraged to spend time with their children daily, spending special days with children shows and establishes for our children that they are valued. I have once advocated that the children’s day should be declared as a public holiday to enable parents to spend time with their children. While we wait for that, I think a child-friendly workplace will either give children’s day as a day off or half-day off.
I also think a child-friendly workplace should allow the children of their staff to come to work with them once or twice in a year. This will give the children an experience of their parents’ workplaces and give them a glimpse to the dignity of labour. Parents may also be allowed to bring their children to work during emergencies. For example in a situation where a nanny leaves without giving ample notice, parents may be allowed to bring their children to work. Emergencies, depending on their magnitude, do destabilise us. We also develop unusual loyalty toward those who stand by in during our emergencies. Therefore when a workplace allows parents to bring their children to work in the times of emergencies, it is renting a permanent space for itself in the minds of their staff and his/her entire family members. The workplace, depending on its size should make provisions for such cases of emergency, when the parents may need to bring their children at very short notice.
My advocacy today may sound alien and in fact impossible, but I am positive it the way to go. It may not make too much sense if you look at it with the eye of culture and tradition. It is my humble submission is that if we must raise extraordinary children, we must create an extraordinary environment, which is different from the existing one because children take after their environment. It is called socialization. Besides the practices I have advocated today deposit virtues in our children that are immeasurable. It gives our children the understanding that they are not only important to their parents, they are also important to the parent’s workplace.
I think I should take off at this point. I urge you friends, Think the Child, Think Today, Think the Future. Have an INSPIRED day.