In a decade, today's kindergartners will be entering adulthood and preparing for their careers. In 10 years, the children of today will lead the fate of our nations, our planet. If we don't invest in them today, we cannot expect the future to look better.
We – i.e., every single person in the world - have to do what it takes to make the world a better place. This means ensuring the children around us grow up to be kind, well-adjusted, and happy individuals ready to conquer the world around them – professionally and personally.
Here are some things all of us can do:
1. Ensure sympathetic engagement and care in the early days
As per most studies, the first 6 years of a child’s life are critical for a person's long-term happiness and success. This is when the crucial brain and cognitive development takes place. And if children fall behind during this time, they are likely to remain behind for the rest of their lives.
When caregivers, at home and with charitable organizations, need to ensure that the basic tenets of the ECCD (Early Childhood Care and Development) around learning for Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual development are followed. This is more than meeting the nutritional and physical safety needs of a child; it involves engaging with them mentally and providing them with enough positive stimulus to learn and grow.
2. Access to good education, nutrition, and mental health support through the teens
These are years of major physical changes that come with even bigger psychological transformations. Children in these years face pressures in various facets of their lives – from the pressure to perform at school to peer pressure to lack of emotional support.
At this stage, caregivers, teachers, and other stakeholders must prioritize providing emotional and mental health support while meeting their regular nutritional and educational needs.
3. Make career paths available and provide sound professional counseling
Leaving school can open a new layer of uncertainly for youngsters. Often they are overwhelmed and daunted by the massive spectrum of career options – many don’t know how to choose, and many underestimate their abilities to make a mark in their chosen fields.
Providing expert guidance during this time vis trained career counselors or psychologists can provide young adults with the right tools and confidence to step out into the job market.
We saw firsthand during the Balkan Wars of the 90s how a whole generation of children lost out on a decade of education and support. Almost every age group was left with the scars of living in uncertain, violent times. Today, the loss of those years resonates in adults who suffer from psychological problems, health issues, and loss of earning power.
Sadly outside support and aid were never enough to cover the many who needed it during the war. Those were extraordinary times, but thankfully we are not torn by strife any longer. We can use our resources to provide well for ALL the children who need support now. We can make sure they never fall through the crack because of a lack of money or support.