Today, November 20th is the United Nations nominated day for Universal Children’s Day. It was established in 1954 by the United Nations National Assembly to apparently try and encourage understanding between children, promote their welfare and motivate countries to make a difference to the lives of the world’s children. I work with children and see how so many things can touch and influence children’s lives.
The UK actually celebrates the day early in the Summer as they want children to play outside and obviously thought that it would be rainy and cold in November. They don’t have the same attitude as Reception teachers in school, where weather is not allowed to stop outside play!
Children’s Day however, is celebrated today in Ireland and in many other countries, so I have decided to return to my love of music for this blogpost. The music below is five songs that encourage us to reflect on the well being of our own children and those around the world. Enjoy.
Number one- We Are The World by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie
National Children’s Day UK is all about the importance of a happy and healthy childhood. It is hard to believe in this modern age that people can go hungry or be malnourished and it is children who are most visible when it comes to suffering from a lack of nutrients, as we often see on TV. Their growth can be stunted, their bodies wasted and the effects of dangerous diseases magnified. Each year millions of children die from malnutrition. Whilst most of these deaths are in the underdeveloped world where people are poor, conflict rife and control and power of resources is not shared equally, hunger also affects those in the developed world . Children where family members are unemployed, homeless or are struggling financially, due to broken homes or illness are also at risk.
We Are The World is a charity single released in 1985 by Supergroup USA and written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. It topped charts all over the world, was the fastest selling American pop single and the first single to be certified multi-platinum. ‘We Are The World’ was recorded to help the African famine relief and raised over 63 million dollars for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.
‘We are the world We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day ,So let’s start giving’
In 2010, after the Haiti earthquake the song was re released by another all star group to help survivors. The video I shared above is Michael Jackson singing ‘We are the World’ with a Sand art animation which was produced especially for National Children’s Day in 2013.
Number Two- When Love Takes You In by Steven Curtis Chapman
The wellbeing and lives of many children can be sadly influenced by unfortunate or tragic home backgrounds. UNICEF estimates that 7 million children worldwide are in instituitional care and that there are roughly 153 million children worldwide who have lost one or both parents. There are so many children across the world orphaned, in foster care or waiting to be adopted hoping for help from the community, a new family and finding a permanent love and home.
Steven Curtis Chapman is an American, Christian songwriter who has started an adoption charity organisation called Show Hope, which helps put orphans from overseas and America in loving homes and change their world for the better. He himself adopted three girls from China, but sadly lost one of them in a tragic accident.
He wrote ‘Love Takes You In’ in 2001, about adoption, a subject that was close to his heart.
‘Where love takes you in and everything changes A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here’
Number 3- Talk Through Me by Jo Collins & Chickenshed
Many children’s wellbeing and health is effected by illness and some children tragically become terminally ill and their short lives and those of their families are helped by hospices and the specialist care and support they provide.
Somewhere Over The Rainbow was a charity Show tune album released in 2007 and promoted and arranged by the TV programme Challenge Anneka. The money went to various UK children’s hospices. There was also a concert where some of the children from hospices performed with the stars. The song ‘Talk Through Me’ is a song from the Chickenshed musical ‘The Kings Web’. The Chickenshed Theatre Company is a charity theatre company based in a disused chicken shed in Cockfosters. The performers are all children and teenagers from all backgrounds and abilities.
‘Talk through me and walk with me and I will live through you’
The Chickenshed children sang with Jo Collins, who is the Director of Music at Chickenshed. I have had this album for a long time and play this song at school. The children all sing along and we often sing it at the end of a Christmas concert , where we think of family and friends.
Number Four- When I Grow Up by Tim Minchin and performed by the cast of Matilda
Education is something that many children in the developed countries take for granted but in 2014 a UN report said that there was about 57 million children in the world with no school to go to. Many schools are overcrowded and have poorly trained teachers. In some parts of the world girls miss out on schooling completely and become child brides. In other parts of the world children have to go to work as they are cheap labour. Education is an escape route from poverty for many and a way of improving their lives. It means that when children grow up they have a better chance of surviving and doing well.
Matilda the Musical was inspired by Matilda, The Roald Dahl book. A gifted girl born to unsuitable parents who discovers her true destiny and powers and finds a kind hearted teacher as well as having an evil school mistress. The song ‘when I Grow Up ‘ is a wistful number when children are dreaming of being adults, but ignorant of the burden and pain that life will bring.
‘And when I grow up, I will be smart enough to answer all
the questions that you need to know the answers to before you’re grown up’
Many children in the world are forced to grow up before their time and don’t have the education and quality of schooling that we expect.
Number Five-Believe written by Lin Marsh. Sung by Natasha Marsh
This song is an actual children’s song from the Out Of The Ark series and is sung in a lot of schools. Fulfilling every child’s potential and encouraging them to reach for their dreams is key to every child’s happiness and wellbeing. Children all over the world need hope, people who care, an opportunity to achieve and a future they can treasure.
This version was recorded by Natasha Marsh a Welsh opera performer, as it was written by her mother.
I can do anything at all, I can climb the highest mountain,
I can feel the ocean calling wild and free. I can be anything at all,
With this hope to drive me onward, If I can just believe in me
I have a boy in my class with a severe hearing impairment and some of the children have been learning to sign. A child with any disability has a bigger mountain to climb and a greater need to be strong and believe in themselves. This video of the same song being signed is visually so powerful, I have shared it as well.
That is this weeks Five Friday Favourite songs and today, even though Universal Children’s Day is not officially celebrated in the UK, lets honour and celebrate the rights of the children in the world.
My children have a lot to be thankful for and over the years have belonged to a performing group called The Young Set, who raise money and perform at events for The Variety Club of Great Britain. Variety club is a children’s charity that helps raise money to support those that are sick, disadvantaged, or have a disability. The group perform annually at The Make A Wish Ball and last year performed a section called ‘War and Peace.’
This is very apt in this current climate of conflict in the world, as so many innocent children get caught up and are affected by war. The wellbeing and happiness of the world’s children is influenced by so much, but PEACE is a necessity.
Honestly Fiona xx