My cousin, Nancy, has an excellent post about really giving children the time they need to make decisions and do things their way. And, oh, what a freeing experience for all involved. Her blog post is entitled School Is Starting. It inspired me to share with you "A Child's Bill of Rights", which is so very important to keep in mind as we parent, teach and care for our children (even after they are grown). We framed this and had it hanging at The NOAH Project. As teachers and administrators at our school for children with autism, we respected these rights as they were at the core of our belief system. When children literally cannot speak up for themselves these rights become even more important, as they are more likely to be overlooked.
A Child's Bill of Rights
by Fred M. Fariss
- I have the right to live rather than exist.
- I have a right to personhood rather than being an object of possession.
- I have a right to equality with every other human being regardless of age.
- I have a right to be respected with regard to my worth.
- I have a right to be uniquely myself with my own identity.
- I have a right to speak my thoughts and feelings, and to be heard.
- I have a right to ask "Why" and to receive answers.
- I have a right to receive discipline without hollering, discounts and put-downs.
- I have a right to be encouraged to grow to maturity at my own pace.
- I have a right to be free from physical harm at the hands of resentful people.
- I have a right to be loved for being me.
- I have a right, with valid guidance, to think for myself, and to make decisions.
- I have a right to be responsible for myself.
- I have a right to feel joy, happiness, sorrow, bereavement and pain.
- I have a right to be a winner.
- I have the right to care and be cared for, to nurture and be nurtured, to give and to receive.
- I have a right to form my own convictions, beliefs and standards.
- I have a right to know and experience personal freedom.
- I have the right to recognize and accept the rights of others regarding their Bill of Rights.
While on the subject of rights, as I was in my last post, and with the new school year beginning it seems appropriate to post this. Interesting enough, many of us need to give ourselves these permissions as grownups. Some of us did not get these permissions growing up and in other instances we gave them up as we matured. This is really a format for basic human rights. They sure would lend themselves to a healthier and safer world for us all to live in.