You have the right to be seen
Good Morning. Today is my third son’s birthday. He is a gift– a kind soul who is very thoughtful about the experiences of others. He has made me think about the fact that how we as a nation treat our people is reflective of how we allow children in our country to be treated. The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child is an international human rights treaty that outlines universal needs and rights for children encompassing a variety of domains. Please look at the map below to see the only member of the United Nations that has NOT ratified this treaty. It is the United States.
The treaty aspires to protect the best interests of the child. Among the rights granted to children by the treaty include protections from physical and emotional harm. Another important right established by The Convention is the right for children to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard. I recall the President’s response to Greta Thunberg expressing her beliefs about the importance of paying attention to climate change. The US does not protect or honor children’s rights, let alone their opinions.
One of the most important outcomes for people who regularly practice mindfulness is that mindfulness develops the ability listen to others nonjudgmentally, with care and compassion. This is why we practice. This is how mindfulness links to resolution of conflict and breeds peace. On June 1st, ViacomCBS and Nickelodeon–their child and family network, went dark for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in response to the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota May 25. On the dark screen, they posted the following:
You have the right to be seen, heard, and respected as a citizen of the word. You have the right to a world that’s peaceful.
You have the right to be treated with equality, regardless of the color of your skin.
You have the right to be protected from harm, injustice, and hatred.
You have the right to an education that prepares you to run the world.
You have the right to your opinions and feelings, even if others don’t agree with them.
PRACTICE: I thought that for today’s mindfulness practice, we would do a loving kindness mindfulness for all the children and people of the world. So, settle yourself and sit tall. Take a deep breath in and out.
Think about a time when you were happy as a child or think of an image of a happy, playful child that generates warm feelings for you. Feel the feelings rise in your chest as you take a few deep breaths. Keep the image of the child present as you repeat the following phrase.
May you be safe and free from all harm
May you be seen, heard, and respected as a citizen of the world.
May you be protected from harm, injustice, and hatred.
May you live in a world that is peaceful.
May all children be safe and free from all harm
May all children seen, heard, and respected as citizens of the world.
May all children be protected from harm, injustice, and hatred.
May all children live in a world that is peaceful.
May all people be safe and free from all harm
May all people seen, heard, and respected as a citizens of the world.
May all people be protected from harm, injustice, and hatred.
May all people live in a world that is peaceful.
The future always offers hope. If we take care to educate and protect all our children now, we have the chance for a more peaceful future.