Human Rights Day, December 10th, 2017, is celebrated in 10 countries to honor the United Nations adoption of the Human Rights proclamation on that day in 1948. It was a groundbreaking document because it outlined 30 fundamental rights that people are entitled to across the world. Basic rights like liberty, equality, and justice under the law.
Government’s honor the day, there is a lot of pomp and circumstance but how can you use this day with your family, in your home or your neighborhood?
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Start off small by talking about the rights your children value in their home. Do they have the right to their own bed? Their own space? To use a computer or a phone? To decide what they wear? Using an example they understand, talk about taking away some of their rights and how that might make them feel. You can expand on this by explaining that some children are not as fortunate, as some may not have the right to an education, a home or even enough to eat.
Who do they know that doesn’t have the same rights that they have?
As a family, make the decision about how seriously you want to make this discussion based on your child’s age and level of understanding. If your children are older do some online research about the 30 basic rights discussed in the proclamation.
Then, take action. Could you volunteer at the local food pantry to help make sure a family has food for dinner? Could you donate books to the local library or school to make sure another child has the opportunity to learn? At this time of year, many local hospitals have opportunities to donate or help, find out what you can do.
Often simple acts of kindness can be the best example. Understanding what another feels and trying to make them feel better is how we begin to teach empathy. Empathy is a key to understanding why the rights of other’s matter. Could they give up something they love to someone else? Could they perform an act of service for a neighbor?
If we can teach our own children to be kinder to others, we have already begun to make the world a better place.