ISSUE 42 JULY 2002 BACK

CHILDREN

The Children's Ten Commandments

Children, do your parents cause you headaches? Give them these “two tablets” to take several times a day.

1. I am your child
As my parent/guardian, you are responsible for my safety and physical and emotional well being, which includes my education, clothing, feeding, accommodation and health.

2. Do not make gods of others
I am an individual. I am similar to, yet different from, even my brother and sister. Do not compare me with others (who always seem better than me). Rather encourage me to reach my full potential. Motivate me by setting targets that are within my reach. By demanding more than I am capable of, you set me up for failure and discourage me even before I’ve started.

3. Use the name of the Lord
Teach me to pray. Teach me to believe in a power greater than man, so that in time of trauma and turmoil, I can find peace and comfort in prayer.

4.Remember the sabbath
Although you lead hectic lives, put aside one day a week for the family. Activities shared together by the family, be it an outing or a regular meal together, draw us closer together and unite us, allowing us to become stronger individuals. This role modeling allows me in turn to form better relationships with others .

5. Honour my nother and/or father
Live your lives in a way that would make me feel proud of and respect you and therefore myself. Set high moral values as I am bound to be influenced by and copy them. Do not criticize my father/mother or both in my presence.

6. Do not kill my spirit
Give me the courage, confidence, encouragement, time and space to explore, experiment and investigate. Allow me to be stubborn. Let me knock my head. When things go wrong, don’t say, “I told you so!” Don’t laugh at, criticize or put me down. Instead, comfort me so that I may try again when I’m ready. Acknowledge me when I succeed as this gives me the confidence and motivation to try again and work harder.

7. Be a committed adult
You must be committed to give me your unconditional love in all my behaviours and mood swings, good or bad. Persevere when I’m rebellious. I need the assurance that you will not give up on or desert me when the going gets tough “especially during my adolescence when I–ll be testing you to the limits as I form my own identity. The reassurance that you will always be there for me gives me the confidence to venture forth into the world.

8. Steal moments with me
Spend time alone with me so I can have your undivided attention and not be interrupted by mom / dad / siblings / others. Time when I can talk to you about issues which are difficult for me to discuss, or just play together so we can get to know each other better. I am never too old for a hug, kiss or cuddle. Don’t forget to tell me every now and again that you love me. This quality time will allow us to bond, build a relationship, so we can feel comfortable in each other’s company. This makes it easier for me to chat to you about things which normally I would be too shy or even too scared to discuss.

9. Do not bear false witness
Do not criticize my friends or peer group; these are the people whom at this point in my life I feel comfortable with and whom I relate to. By criticizing them, you attack my character and self esteem and drive me further away from you. The good family morals and role-modeling you have taught me, together with your positive involvement, your constant encouragement and patience, are probably most of what I need to stay on track.

10. Do not covet
Teach me to work for what I want, to set goals, to put effort into my life, which should eventually bring its own rewards; to achieve to the best of my abilities; to know to be satisfied with what I’ve got so I can stop chasing after what my neighbours have got “rather to learn to enjoy the fruits of my own labour.

This feature adapted and submitted by Harold Goldstuck, original author unknown

THE INTERNATIONAL CHILD AND YOUTH CARE NETWORK (CYC-Net)
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