There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
— Nelson Mandela
He toddles towards me, his dark eyes bright with curiosity.
“Whatcha you doing, Mama?” he asks, his nose touching the edge of my desk.
“I’m drawing,” I reply, putting down my pen and scooping him onto my lap.
He stays silent as his chubby fingers gently trace my colorful lines.
With a dimpled smile, he wriggles down from his perch. A bit of digging around, and he comes back. He sits on the floor and lays out his crayons and paper.
My whole being smiles as in all seriousness he declares, “I’m gonna draw too.”
There is loving silence between us as we both begin.
Birth Of A Movement
Children are our gift of hope to the world. Within their young beings lie the potential to shape societies and build upon our legacies. This is why it is our sacred duty as adults to nourish and protect them, as well as become inspiring role models who encourage their growth.
National Make a Difference to Children Month is a key observance that takes place each year in July. It reminds us of the significance of investing in the well-being and development of children. This month-long campaign aims to promote awareness, inspire action, and encourage individuals, communities, and organizations to make a positive impact on the lives of children.
This month-long campaign began in 2006 as a grassroots movement initiated by Kim Ratz, a long-time advocate for children’s welfare. He believed that supporting the well-being of all children can help shape our future as a society. Although his altruistic movement faced criticism — by virtue of the sheer number of children in need of help — Ratz prescribed that it was primarily a personal call to action. It was a rallying cry for each of us to step up and make a difference, even if it was to help just one child. The aim is for individual actions working together to make a widespread, impactful change.
Nurturing Our Seedlings
During July, different activities and initiatives are organized to address the diverse needs of children. These include educational programs, health and wellness initiatives, mentoring and tutoring programs, advocacy campaigns, fundraising events, and community outreach events. The main goal is to create a nurturing environment that encourages the holistic growth and development of children, empowering them to reach their full potential.
One of the primary focuses of this month is to raise awareness about the challenges children face and the importance of providing them with a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment. It emphasizes the need for quality education, healthcare, nutrition, and access to recreational activities. The campaign motivates everyone to join in activities that can positively impact the lives of children — whether through volunteering, donating resources, or advocating for government policies that prioritize their well-being.
That Personal Touch
Another focus is to promote the significance of positive adult-child relationships. Modeling and mentoring play vital roles in shaping children's lives and helping them build resilience, self-esteem, and confidence. By emphasizing the importance of supportive relationships, the month-long campaign encourages adults to actively engage with children and become positive influences in their lives.
Modeling behavior refers to the process of demonstrating desired actions and attitudes for children to imitate, as this is one of the foundational ways they learn. By modeling positive behavior, we serve as good examples — influencing children to adopt similar behaviors and values. It is an effective way to shape and encourage desirable actions in them. This starts within the child’s family and close relatives.
Mentoring children involves maintaining a nurturing and supportive relationship with a child — providing our guidance, encouragement, and positive role modeling. It aims to support the child's personal, academic, and social development. We help them build their confidence, skills, and resilience as they navigate through various challenges and opportunities in life. The educational system collaborates with the child’s family in this process.
Lighting The Spark
Creativity and writing play essential roles in child development — fostering cognitive, emotional, and social growth. When we nurture their creativity from an early age and join them in writing activities, we help develop their essential skills and abilities.
Creativity encourages imagination, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Taking part in creative activities with children, such as storytelling, drawing, and imaginative play, allows them to explore different perspectives, think outside the box, and develop innovative solutions. Creativity encourages curiosity and a sense of exploration, encouraging them to ask questions, seek answers, and discover new possibilities.
Writing allows children to express themselves, articulate their thoughts, and develop their language skills. Through writing, they learn to organize their ideas, construct coherent sentences, and communicate effectively. It also enhances their vocabulary, grammar, and spelling skills. Moreover, writing provides a means for self-reflection, promoting self-awareness and emotional development.
Writing and creativity both have social benefits. Collaborative writing projects, group storytelling, and creative play promote teamwork, communication, and cooperation among children. Creative expression helps them develop empathy, understanding, and tolerance — as they explore different viewpoints and experiences through their creations. It also gives them a platform for self-expression, boosting their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Tools At Hand
One of the ways we can engage with children is to introduce them to the writing instruments that we love. Fountain pens are known to provide benefits that enhance their overall development. Here are the main examples —
Fine Motor Skills –
Writing with a fountain pen requires controlled hand movements, which promotes the development of fine motor skills. The delicate grip and controlled pressure needed to write effectively with a pen helps children refine their hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity.
Improved Handwriting –
The smooth flow of ink and the requirement for a consistent grip and pressure when using a fountain pen can enhance a child's handwriting. The continuous flow of ink encourages fluid movements, leading to neater and more legible writing over time.
Attention and Focus –
Fountain pens demand more attention and concentration compared to other writing instruments. Children must be aware of the pen's angle, ink flow, and pressure. This can help improve their focus and concentration while writing, and fosters a sense of mindfulness and engagement.
Ownership and Personalization –
Fountain pens can be personalized, allowing children to choose pens that match their style and preferences. This sense of ownership and pride in their writing instrument can increase motivation and enjoyment in writing and other creative activities.
Longevity and Sustainability –
Fountain pens are reusable and can be refilled with ink, reducing waste compared to disposable pens. Teaching children the value of sustainability and responsible consumption early on can instill important environmental values.
Appreciation for History and Tradition –
Using a fountain pen connects children to a traditional and historical form of writing. Exploring the heritage and craftsmanship behind fountain pens can spark an interest in history, culture, and the art of writing.
Another way fountain pens nurture positive relationships between us and children is that using these can be a shared experience. Children are often curious about our everyday tools. They would also ask to be shown how these work and the results from the process. From there, they can develop an exploratory mindset as to how they can do similar things that adults do. We can bond with them through the use of fountain pens as we write and create together.
This article helpfully provides EndlessPens’ recommendations for the best fountain pens for kids .
Our Human Legacy
Oscar Wilde said, “The best way to make children good is to make them happy”. I believe that happiness is founded upon providing them the proper care to empower themselves in the future. Children are indeed humanity’s most valuable gift to the world. As such, they deserve our love, kindness, and respect as fellow human beings with the potential to grow into remarkable adults.
Happy National Make a Difference to Children Month!
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!