Learn about what famous founders and figures have to say about celebrating children

Archbishop of Canterbury

“This Sunday, 20 November 2011, is the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children. This day has been promoted by UNICEF, Religions for Peace, Save the Children and other agencies to focus the world’s attention on the well-being of our children. In every faith community, our children are the treasure that we value beyond price. A child born into health and safety is a sign of hope in our common life. In children we recognise the preciousness and dignity of the human being as well as a vulnerability which calls for our care and protection.

The theme for this year is ‘stop violence against children’. Violence against children will take many forms in different contexts – all demanding our action and prayer. After visiting Eastern Congo earlier this year, I particularly hold in my prayers those children who are affected by armed conflict. I met children who had suffered unimaginable horror, attacked, abducted, forced into brutalizing ways of life - and yet, amidst the anguish, I also encountered precious flames of hope, where local churches and communities strove to protect and restore the lives of their children. I had the privilege of meeting a group of young people who are now involved in a peace initiative. They had been taken into the militia as children and forced to perpetrate terrible acts, and yet the Church continued to reach out to them and call them back. Many said to me: “The Church never gave up on us.” I know that UNICEF has supported faith communities doing similar work to rehabilitate child soldiers in other countries.

In Eastern Congo I also witnessed the work of faith communities helping children who had been subjected to sexual violence. I heard of churches and their communities which had repeatedly rebuilt their schools, destroyed in conflict. They said that their children and their children’s future were far too precious not to act, and act again.

I urge us all, in churches and other faith communities all around the world, to unite in this World Day of Prayer and Action for the protection and flourishing of our children.”—The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams

Source: Anglican News

Sikh Scripture

“The Supreme God, through the Divine Guru, protects and preserves God’s children.” –Siri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 819

“God cherishes all children, and reaches out with God’s hand.” –Siri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 957

Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili

On World Children’s Day 2007, Grand Ayatollah Abdul-karim Mousavi Ardebili spoke about violence against children: “When it comes to the problem [of violence against children] silence or denial will only worsen the situation. We need to admit to the bitter reality that violence against children does exist in houses, families, institutions and societies around the world. All means including the lofty instructions of God and the spiritual influence of religious leaders should be tapped in order to change the situation and eliminate violent behaviour against children.” –Grand Ayatollah Abdul-Karim Mousavi Ardebili, ‘A Message for World Children’s Day Iran’, 2007

Source: UNICEF

Muslim Hadiths

“Nothing a parent may award his (or her) child is better than a good upbringing.” –Al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Birr wa al-Silah 4.338, Hadith 1952

“May Allah have mercy on a parent who helps his child be grateful and kind to him.” –Ibn Abu Shaybah, Al-Musannaf, Kitab al-Adab, 6/101

“It is a grave sin for one to neglect a person whom he is responsible for sustaining.” –Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Zakat, 2/136, Hadith 1692

“He is not one of us who shows no mercy to our young.” –Al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-birr 4/322, Hadith 1921

“Fear Allah and be fair to your children.”—Muslim, Sahih, Kitab al-Hibat 3/1242-1243)

Maimonides’ Code

“If one person is able to save another and does not save him, he transgresses the commandment, ‘Neither shall you stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.’ (Leviticus 19:16) Similarly, if one person sees another drowning in the sea, or being attacked by bandits, or being attacked by wild animals, and, although able to rescue him either alone or by hiring others, does not rescue him; or if one hears heathens or informers plotting evil against another or laying a trap for him and does not call it to the other’s attention and let him know; or if one knows that a heathen or violent person is going to attack another and although able to appease him on behalf of the other and make him change his mind, he does not do so; or if one acts in any similar way — he transgresses in each case the injunction “Neither shall you stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.” –Maimonides’ Code, “Laws Concerning Murder and the Preservation of Life,” Chapter 1, Sections 14 and 16

Elie Wiesel

“As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.” –Elie Wiesel

Proverbs

“Speak up for [those unable to speak], for the rights of all the unfortunate. Speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and needy.” -Proverbs 31: 8-9

Talmud

“Do not neglect the children of the poor, for from them will go forth the law.” —Babylonian Talmud, Nedarim 81a

Islam

"Nothing a parent may award his (or her) child is better than a good upbringing." (Al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Birr wa al-Silah 4.338, Hadith)

Islam

"May Allah have mercy on a parent who helps his child be grateful and kind to him." (Ibn Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Zakat, 2/136, Hadith, 1692)

Rabindranath Tagore

"Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man."

Rabindranath Tagore

"From the solemn gloom of the temple children run out to sit in the dust, God watches them play and forgets the priest."

Rabindranath Tagore

"Children are living beings - more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love."

Swami Vivekananda

"If I had a child I would from its very birth begin to tell it, 'Thou art the Pure One'. You have read in one of the Puranas that beautiful story of queen Madâlasâ, how as soon as she has a child she puts her baby with her own hands in the cradle, and how as the cradle rocks to and fro, she begins to sing, 'Thou art the Pure One the Stainless, the Sinless, the Mighty One, the Great One.'"

Mahatma Gandhi

"If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have to struggle; we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering."