Many of us believe that, children get the best protection from family and are more likely to provide the best conditions for a healthy development, which is true to a large extend. However, it is also a fact that children in many a context prevent break up of families especially in more traditional communities. Children have unwittingly kept the institution of family alive and bound together men women who are consciously selfish by nature. Children continue to call adults to experience love and peace and to be vulnerable and generous givers. There are also instances where children have kept the family from suicide and starvation by shouldering the breadwinner role in the family. Stories of this type may be not common but are a reality. Especially in situations where the earning member of the family has disappeared; due to war, conflict, breakup of family for any other reasons where children have become the ultimate victims.
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Document type: Video
Children prevent family breakups
A few weeks back I happened to listen/view a documentary that was telecast on TV, which depicted the ordeals of a child with in the context of the unrest and terrorism in Kashmir. The story was of an 8 year old boy who had to shoulder the responsibility of earning an income for the entire household in order to prevent the family from perishing.
The father has joined a terrorists group and had abandoned the family of three young children and their mother to fend for themselves. The family had no source of income than what the man used to earn, by way of ferrying goods and in season tourists visiting Kashmir across the lake. With the disappearance of the father, only earning member of the family has become so poor, helpless and at the brink of starvation that the mother decided to commit suicide with the children.
The eldest of the three children Arif 8 years have sensed the horror the family is faced with. In a moment of grace and determination to live, Arif said to his mother that he will go out and find work with the trades wanting to ferry their goods across the lake and will also ferry tourists in the season. It worked like a miracle that the boy was able to find some work with the boat his father had left behind. Arif’s ordeal has not come to an end rather it has become more vivid and real.
He has managed to earn on an average about Rs.60 less than ($ 1.5) per day for the survival of the family of four. With Arif’s demonstrated courage his mother too has gained confidence to live, so she sold tea for the visitors and earner another Rs.40 about ($1) Per day. The two siblings of Arif, 6 and 4 years helped their mother with household work.
What is right and what is wrong ?
Through Arif the family got a new life with a nonviolent action from a child of 8 years fixing an unreasonable action by an adult. And thus four lives saved in this real story due to the determination of a child to live and his love for his dear ones in the family. It was a moving and thought provoking story re-enacted based on a real life incident. The only question that kept lingering in my after viewing this documentary is that, if an 8 year old can show the way for peace; why are we adults often late or never in taking the path to peace. Arief, now 10 years cherish a dream of establishing a family business, build a house boat to receive tourists, make savings to educate his siblings and get his sister married when she reach adulthood.
By listening to Arif’s life saga I feel this is a real example for the world to learn from (I am sure there will be many more similar stories where children have shown the way to peace through their life example), to follow for establishing permanent peace in Kashmir or for that matter in any part of the world where there is an ongoing conflict, what ever may be the real reasons.
The institution of family owes a lot to children who have kept it alive and gave continuity in the evolution of humanity and its consciousness. The history of human evolution would have been very different if children were not children as they come to this world. Rabindranath Tagore has rightly said that « every child comes to this world with a message from God that He is still happy with the creation of humans on earth ». It is beyond any doubt that the existence of happy children in the society is a must for the growth of civilization, whether it is with a primitive tribe community or in the most modern society.
Children need to grow in a family atmosphere
Children who have been separated from their families are more dangerously vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and neglect. The separation of children from their families can result from many causes, including the death of one or both parents, abandonment, displacement due to armed conflict, trafficking, natural calamities or simply the inability or unwillingness of the family to provide care. The roots of separation can also be found in behavior problems, relationship difficulties, abusive parents, or simply blind to the needs of the children and neglect. Separation or neglect is also due to larger systemic issues such as poverty, conflict, natural disaster, or HIV/AIDS.
Children are not safe in a society that fails to be in touch with its consciousness. Children are little signs of peace and rootedness, fully present to the consciousness of the Cosmos. It is fully alive with the elements of the earth and with it. It is the privilage of the child to be with its parents/ family is a non negotiasble factor for the fullest development of the child to be nurtured, educated, supported to be eligible humans who can peacefully co-exist with all other creatures on the earth and grow beyound its phisical existence in the understanding of its spiritual being with in. Also to be able to travel to the boundaries and unravel the mysteries of the universe at various levels as it grows as an adult.