Text: Salla Pätsi
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
Whenever I think about the Day of Children’s Rights, I wonder what that day really means. We seldom think very profoundly about the rights we had as children – or have now as adults. At least I feel that I was born and grew up in material abundance with many rights. We seldom think that many of the things we consider self-evident are inaccessible to many people. Or at least they need to work hard, often even at the risk of their lives, to attain those things.
I think children’s rights should also include the right to hear the message about merciful God, about Jesus who atoned for our sins and about guardian angels, and to learn a comforting evening prayer. I was happy to listen to two young people who shared experiences and memories of their childhood homes. They said that, although they no longer believe in the same way as their parents, they are really grateful for the way they were brought up, the safety of their homes and the evening prayer, especially when they listen to their friends or visit their homes. They felt that their childhood experiences are still the foundation of their life.
They have something greater than themselves that they can rely on. There is the home where they are loved unconditionally and cared for without mutual demands. Although their lifestyle and their choices in life cause their parents to worry, they still feel loved and important. They even said they were surprised about their parents’ tolerance.
I was also happy to hear that they wanted to defend their parents’ faith and to correct other people’s misconceptions, because ”this is something that I know better than any of my friends!” They do not feel bitter about their home background, but appreciate it and feel free to say so. They said even some adults had been astonished at that.
I felt happy about everything I heard, because we, as believing parents, want to give our children the best that we can. We do not push or force them. We even try to understand if our child makes choices that we do not appreciate. Even so, I agree with a mother who once said that, when a child gave up their faith, she felt that her own faith was tested and she lost her own joy of believing. She also wondered if all the work she had done for that child would go to waste.
Being a mother of some unbelieving children, I can say it is good that not all of our thoughts show on the outside. It is good sometimes to have a moment to consider one’s reactions. And it is also good that we can put away the words that would better have been left unsaid and the things that should have been left undone and forget them. My experience is that human forgiveness is also available to unbelieving people. And then we can start again from the beginning, even though without the gospel. We can always take care of the bad matters and be gracious to the other person and to ourselves.
One of the children’s rights is the right to be able to live like a child, without the worries of adults. Children should be able to live and play, listen to stories, spend free time with adults, talk to them and even discuss big and serious matters. To receive age-appropriate answers to their questions. To be held and to feel secure. To be clean and warm. And to hope there would always be “enough sleep and hunger”, like my husband often says.
In our family it is mostly the father who kisses and cuddles children. Sometimes, when he comes home after weeks of working away from home, a child may say, “Mummy never cuddles us. But she reads to us!”
That comment really made me pause, because it was true. I find it difficult to show affection, to touch and hold even my own children. But I try to show my love in other ways. I read them the stories that I love myself. I read the evening prayer, the same that my mother’s mother is said to have read. I bless them, sing to them, and talk to them. I also try to learn to be quiet and listen properly to what the child wants to tell me. To give them time.
The evening prayer is an important thing that connects us. I once stayed overnight at the cabin with my own daughter and a niece. I wondered if I could still read the evening prayer to the fairly big girls. But when I started saying the prayer, my niece joined in. It turned out we had the same evening prayer. And I have been happy to find that many of my cousins’ families also pray with the same words! I feel that my grandmother’s prayer is still carrying us. Can a grandmother give any better inheritance to her offspring than the right to use an evening prayer where we can pray for the whole world! Even as an adult, that prayer quietens down my thoughts and helps me see things more clearly. When saying that prayer, I can securely believe that, God willing, we can do this or that… and we need not worry about things that are too big for us to do anything about them!
”Nuori tarvitsee vanhemmat, jotka ovat huolissaan, pettyvät nuoren toilailuista, ilahtuvat onnistumisista, suuttuvat laiminlyönneistä ja sanovat tarvittaessa ei. Vanhempien tehtävänä on uskaltaa, jaksaa ja kestää silloinkin, kun nuori ei itse uskalla, jaksa tai kestä”, sanotaan Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliiton sivuilla.
Levollista ja iloista laulu- ja soitinmusiikkia turvallisesta paimenesta. Tutustu tarkemmin tästä.
Runokokoelmassa luonto peilaa ihmisen kokemuksia, mutta myös vaikuttaa kokemuksiin. Tutustu tarkemmin tästä.
Nuortenkirja kertoo koulukiusatun Joonan rippikoulukesästä. Vaikka kirjassa käsitellään vaikeitakin aiheita, siitä löytyy myös ystävyyttä, iloa ja luottamusta Jumalan johdatukseen. Tutustu lisää ja tilaa täältä.
Mitä lapset tekevät purjeveneessä? Mukaansatempaava kertomus lapsiperheen erilaisesta matkasta suviseuroihin. Tutustu tarkemmin tästä.
Lohdullisia ja riemullisia lauluja taivaasta Jämsän Kristillinen Kansanopiston kuoron laulamana. Tutustu ja tilaa levy verkkokaupasta!