For the longest time possible, children from all over the world have been enmeshed in a cruel mire of misery and despair.
Haunted by the scourges of a lack of access to education, child neglect and poor health and nutrition, adolescents globally are obstructed from acquiring desirable lifestyles.
While detractors are quick in parrot-crying the apparent hopelessness attached to such issues, in my opinion, there is still much hope left. I personally feel that it will not serve us to continue believing that our children will forever be deprived of a higher standard of living.
Therefore, in my short essay, I shall address the three major challenges afflicting children nowadays. For the sake of generations to come, I hope that you will pay grave attention to what I am about to say.
The admittance to education has been commonly considered to be the greatest liberator of children, as it prepares the individual with indispensable knowledge and skills. As affirmed by the American education reformer, Horace Mann, “A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated”.
The acquisition of education plays a vital role in allowing one to reach his utmost potential. In the globalised world in which we live today, the demand for skilled workers is rapidly escalating. Seen in this light, the acute shortage of education will result in bountiful numbers of children being poorly equipped to compete with those that have higher access to education. This deprives them of a better salary and the capacity to make well-informed choices. It further subjects them to the asperities of harsher living environments and poorer sanitary conditions, hampering their standard of living.
In a report, “Education Pays”, published by the American College Board, comparisons between education and various economic aspects like earnings, unemployment and poverty were made. The data, provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, showed an astonishing relationship between higher education and higher earnings, lower unemployment and lower poverty rates. Therefore, it is undeniable to claim that the dearth of education is one of the dominant agents that are perturbing today’s adolescents from pursuing an ideal life.
Moving on, in contemporary society, there is paramount importance attached to the strong upbringing of a child. One has to take note that the ramifications around children with poor family backgrounds are extremely somber. Being new to this world, children are vulnerable to incoming influences from their surroundings. Without adequate guidance, children tend to develop certain misperceptions on their society. This will cause them to have certain negative beliefs about their society and will result in them engaging in activities that are delinquent in nature.
Other than pursing socially unacceptable behaviors, which would hinder their future, they could potentially harm themselves too. This includes reckless and impulsive actions like self-harm and drug abuse or in the most serious cases, becoming a child terrorist. Examples include Seung-Hui Cho who caused the Virginia Tech massacre and other child terrorists that are involved in the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Such behaviors are condemned by society, forcing these misguided children to be expelled from their community, worsening their prospects of a better life. As such, it could be seen that child neglect is one of the massive driving engines that are worst impinging today’s children.
Probably the most highly debatable and contentious theme that humankind has battled with is good health and nutrition. Good health and nutrition is known by societies globally as essential to the welfare of an individual. A healthy mind and well-functioning body is crucial in maintaining a continual high performance level for individuals, especially for young children.
The maintenance of good health and nutrition is seen as vital for children as it ensures that they are physically and mentally fit to face daily confrontations. An irregular supply of good health and nutrition is seen as deleterious as it prevents children from having the capacity to chase their aspirations and goals.
Commenting on a recent study in the Philippines, where two-thirds of the 2,000 children living in metropolitan Cebu were stunted, Linda S. Adair, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina added, “High levels of stunting among children suggest that there will be long-term deficits in mental and physical development… leaving children ill-prepared to take advantage of learning opportunities… [having] consequences for children’s success later in life.” Hence, it is safe to claim that poor health and nutrition is one of the monstrous determinants that are worst encroaching children nowadays.
Indeed, there is a limit to how much help we could render to children worldwide. We cannot promise that one day that these children, lest ours, will be able to live comfortable lifestyles. We aren’t even certain that various attitudes that fuel their hardships like prejudice, apathy and resignation will one day be mere vestiges of an unenlightened generation.
What is certain is that currently we have the resources and the capability to put the sufferings of children all over the globe to an end. The only missing ingredients in our majestic plan are for us to believe that we can and that we are willing to make the effort to commit to such a belief. We should no longer hesitate as the time has come.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
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