The next time you walk down a public street, count the number of
children brandishing a new toy. Then count the number of children
putting money in a charity tin. Most children have little idea of
the poverty that other people must live in, or even that there are
people in poverty.
This is not the children’s fault, it is the fault of parents and
teachers who don’t tell them. Adults might argue that exposing
young children to the harsher facts of life would confuse them.
But I wonder how many have ever tried, and if they don’t try how
will they ever know? Instead, children are more and more likely to
get whatever they want, when they want, where they want, all the
Parents will give in to constant pleading rather than endure
their child’s tears.
As people get wealthier, their lives become more stable, and the
fear of dying from dirty water, diseases, or dirty conditions
lessens, they forget about others who aren’t so fortunate. In the
past the church taught children about moral values, and while I’m
not religious myself, I think that we need to learn about poverty
and suffering so that we can realise how lucky we are.
The contrast between the situation of children affected by the
tsunami in south east Asia, and many children in this country who
woke up to heaps of Christmas presents, was very stark. But how
can children, the leaders of the future, help other people, and be
thankful for what they themselves have, if they are not even made
aware of the problem?
Fraser Embleton-Smith, age 11