Why children should have a voice

By the Editorial Staff

Thursday | March 26, 2015 | 5:20 PM | Last update: September 22, 2016, 4:07 PM (Brasilia time)

Who has never been surprised by a child’s simple and sincere statement? They have the capacity to awaken important feelings in us like happiness, hope, and renewal, which we end up losing over the years because of the difficulties we experience in our day-to-day lives. With their simplicity of Soul in the way in which they see the problems of the world they set us a good example of how we can deal with them and transform our lives. An argument between children, for example, does not last long, because a few minutes later they forget the reason for the fight and start playing again. Without reducing the complexity of adult human relationships, is it possible to imagine what mankind would be like if in the world of older people it was also like it is with children?

Jesus, one of the most widely recognized figures and one of the first to understand the social and spiritual importance of children, gave voice to the little ones. In His Gospel He warned: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). With this consideration, Jesus turned the attention of his disciples, and of all of us, to the contributions and values of these very important social players, children. If we adopt this view it will even enable us to live better in a Kingdom of Peace, which we can build every day in our home, in our workplace, or within ourselves. In other words, bring this joy into our minds and Souls, since Jesus also said the following: "The kingdom of God is within you" (The Gospel according to Luke, 17:21). Here we can see the attention and care we must have with all the little ones we know, whether they are our own children, a brother or a sister, a nephew or a niece.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2011 alone, it was estimated that 19,000 children died per day; 40% being babies in their first month of life and most with preventable causes. These are significant numbers that lead us to reflect upon what we have done to ensure them an ever fairer and dignified life, regardless of our field of work. With nearly six decades of work on behalf of the education of generations and the future of Mankind,  educator and President of the Legion of Good Will (LBV), Paiva Netto, when speaking about the due attention children deserve, put it in this manner: "Children only give back what society gives them. If society offers them garbage, they will usually give back garbage to society. But, if you give them Love, which means Brotherhood, Solidarity, and Compassion, they will become more beautiful in appearance and spirit.”

These words were spoken on March 2, 1996, during one of the most important inaugurations of the Organization in favor of the education of the very young: the Educational Center of the Legion of Good Will in the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), a demonstration of respect and love for the future of all the children of Rio and their families.

Incidentally, the LBV has had this zeal since its inauguration, in 1950, seeing children as important agents of transformation. One of the recent and significant actions created on behalf of children is the International Forum of the Little Soldiers of God*, which has been developed and devised by children since 2003, when it was first launched by Paiva Netto.

Consolidating 12 years of child protagonism, the Forum maintains its objective, as defined by its creator: "We have to show that a child’s thought is a thought that gives us the prospect of a better world (...). Children will have the opportunity to manifest themselves (...) because they need to learn to defend themselves (with Love and intelligence).” Children come together to discuss topics that are of interest to them and to their communities, and at the same time, they ensure that families pay attention to the opinion of these young protagonists.

Children themselves plan the program with professionals from the LBV and organize workshops, plays, exhibitions, competitions, and group dynamics exercises. The event was held simultaneously at the schools and Community and Educational Centers of the LBV and at the Ecumenical Churches of the Religion of God, the ecumenical religion of Brazil and the world. The conclusion of the event, one of the moments to which the little ones themselves paid close attention to, came in the form of a word from the creator of the Forum of the Little Soldiers of God, Paiva Netto, who greeted and talked to all the families present via the internet.

You can learn more about this ecumenical proposal of children protagonism by contacting the Good Will Portal. Click here to contact us.
* Little Soldiers of God – A caring name created by radio broadcaster Alziro Zarur, the late founder of the LBV, right at the beginning of the Organization in the 1950s. It refers to ecumenical and spiritualized children who received, through the Institutions of Good Will (IGWs), complete development, of the body and the spirit, in the assertion of having formed their brains and hearts, as the President of the IGWs, Paiva Netto, argues. The aim is to help children live in a balanced way, by establishing their development on solid and eternal bases, in order to form the Society of the future, a truly Solidarity-based Society. To do so, the bases are supported on the New Commandment of Jesus, the Ecumenical Christ, the Divine Statesman: “Love one another as I have loved you. Only by this shall all of you be recognized as my disciples, if you have the same Love for one another. (...) There is no greater Love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (The Gospel of Jesus according to John, 13:34 and 35; 15:13).