We’re still thinking about National Kids’ Day. For people thinking carefully, there is widespread agreement that children – their protection and nurturing – are vital to the life of the world and its future. Ironically, the importance that people around the world place on a day for children is reflected, not in the unity of their occasions, but rather on the variety of dates they’ve chosen for observing it.

Celebrated last month in the U.S., the second Sunday of June, the observance has a lot of different dates around the world, going back to a first observance that some trace to a sermon in Massachusetts on the second Sunday of June in 1857. Turkey was the first country to make it a national holiday, in 1929, and they chose April 23.

Since 1950, the International Day for the Protection of Children has been observed in many nations on June 1. Traditionally, in America, we keep the second Sunday of June as National Children’s Day, but President Clinton proclaimed it October 8th, and President George W. Bush said June 1. In Britain this year, National Children’s Day came on May 12. In Japan, it was May 5.

The United Nations considers it so important to highlight the developmental needs and rights of children around the world that they mark International Children’s Day on November 20. The U.N. observed that date to adopt the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

Focus is the Reason

Taking the well-being of kids for granted is a luxury problem – not an attitude that the world can afford. Just saying, “Every day is kids’ day,” is naïve and very likely a sign that we are just fortunate to live in a nation, a community, or a neighborhood that is better off than most. There are plenty of communities right here in the U.S. where having enough to eat, or getting to a decent school, or having somewhere to go while the folks are away at work, is not assured by any means.

In fact, even the distractions that come with prosperity can be a threat to children, too. When we take a moment – or a day – to think about the impact of mobile screens and digital distraction, the rapid rise of childhood obesity and its attendant ailments such as Type II diabetes, and the decline in physical engagement with nature and movement, then even a prosperous nation like ours has plenty to consider on National Kids’ Day.

The balance between the energy we direct outside the family, to provide for them, and the awareness we preserve within the family, to assure that material security isn’t the only thing we’re providing, then we may be surprised at the room for improvement we see.

Five Pointers from Across the Pond

Five things to know about Children’s Day were published in Britain this year. Another supportive website offers tangible suggestions for raising the awareness you and your child hold for the role they play in life and the true importance of valuing it. Among them:

  • Preparing your child’s favorite meal.
  • Looking through photos that place your child in the family’s story.
  • Conversing with focus about their wants and needs.

Communicating to children their real importance is one way of celebrating Kid’s Day with healthy proportion. The idea is that they become less frivolous or selfish when children’s needs are considered together seriously.

As a family practice, we consider children’s well-being a built-in element of the family’s whole health. We’d be honored to assist in this perspective. Just call us at 843-815-6468.