Children are the Hope and Future of the World
“Children are the hope and future of the world!”
We, the Children and Young People of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC), coming from 6 different faith traditions and 24 different countries of 5 major world regions, on this occasion of the Second Forum of the GNRC, deliver this, our “Message on Living in Peace,” to all nations and peoples of the world.
Peace is the harmony of the ordinary struggles of life just as it was meant to be… so we must promote solutions to war and help those who are in war.
Peace means more than just no war. It is reconciliation… so we must build peace in our countries, even in apparently “peaceful countries.”
Peace is the love in which families are meant to grow… so in our families, the cycle of love will transform seeds of conflict into solutions for complete harmony.
Peace is being able to express yourself and being able to listen to others… so we must each take the first step to listen and communicate better in order to understand others.
Peace is giving… because it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Peace is sharing freely with others… so we must show people how to share through our lives.
Peace is when you can be honest about what you feel, and even have a disagreement with someone, but still love and be loved… so let us work things out to reduce conflict.
Peace is openness and honesty, forgiveness and acceptance of differences… so we must pass on these blessings to many others.
Peace is thinking about peace… so let’s think more about peace, and then take action to build it.
Peace is education… so we must build schools and ask the teachers to teach children how to build peace.
Peace is governments that work for the benefit of their own citizens, not for self-interest, and also for the citizens of the whole world… so we should write letters to all of our governments, to urge them to be unselfish.
Peace is living a clean and enlightened life… so we must let others know that life is beautiful so no one will want to waste it with violent media or video games, smoking, drinking, drugs, stealing, or hurting others.
Peace is understanding each other’s faith and beliefs… so we must respect and celebrate the things we have in common and the things that make us each unique.
Peace is justice… so we must be fair and treat everyone equally.
Peace is being hopeful… so we must never give up our hope.
Peace is living peacefully with our whole environment… so we must love the earth as we love ourselves.
Peace is prayer… so we must definitely make time to pray.
Peace is love… so let us break down all the barriers that divide us, and build a universal brother-and-sisterhood of humankind.
Peace is possible because every human being is born with the capacity to love. We want to be the first to put into practice the things we propose in this Message. These things can be practiced by everyone in the world: children, young people, and adults. We commit ourselves:
- To take time out to pray for peace every day.
- To live out the “Golden Rule” found in all of our religious teachings – “To do to others as you would have them do to you; to not do to others what you would not have them do to you.”.
- To love all people, even those who are or seem to be “enemies” at the time
- To forgive others, and start over again when we ourselves make a mistake
- To live in peace with the people closest to us.
Because we believe that we can build peace…
We call on all citizens of the earth, including ourselves, to:
- Intensify efforts for the welfare and development of childre.
- Put an end to child abuse
- Make sure that education in the family, schools and all of society teaches values based on a culture of peace and love, and for the common good of all
- Stop military conflict and other forms of violence, for example in the street and in the family
- Protect the rights of children so that they do not become victims of military action, wars, and the sex industry
- Work to build a family and social environment that fosters children in a loving and compassionate way
- Ensure that all children, both girls and boys, have equal access to education of a good quality level
- Build equal relationships between children and adults by practicing mutual respect between children and adults.
We call on the media to:
- Not show programs, advertisements and other content with harmful messages, and instead, to promote the health and well-being of all people
- Proactively publicize the facts about the cry of suffering children to all the world
- Regulate extreme expressions of violence and sex
- Implement special programs to promote care for children
- Give broadcast time to children on international TV channels, to report on GNRC and other global children’s news and activities.
We call on national governments to:
- Create or revise national laws that address the latest developments regarding the rights of children and prioritize the interests of the child and family, and monitor to make sure they are put into practice
- Offer the strong points of their national laws on children to contribute to international law on child rights
- Ensure the right to life from the moment of conceptio.
- Draw up a national strategy for equal early childhood development, education and family security for all, and encourage studies and research related to promoting and supporting spiritual and ethical values in the framework of educational development
- Ensure that public education curriculums include peace education and ethics education for all children, and incorporate child rights at all educational level.
- Empower and support talented children in all fields to become ambassadors of peac.
- Convert military budgets into support for building of schools, hospitals and social services to make sure that children and their families can be assured of basic welfare
- Cancel the debts of developing countries, and support them in working towards alleviation of poverty, the reduction of unemployment, and implementing national policies on population growt.
- Allow NGOs for children to exist under the law and support them by sharing institutional experience.
And we ourselves pledge to:
Establish the Interfaith Youth Network with an action-oriented website that will enable children and young people worldwide to share knowledge and ideas about how to build a peaceful world and work together to plan and act on proposals like the following from the young people of the Second Forum of the GNRC:
- Organize a World Peace Marathon relay, running all the way around the world with this “Children and Young People’s Message on Living in Peace”.
- Publicize this Message as widely as possible through various channels, such as music, art, sports, and the peace marathon, and by sending it to national governments, religious communities, government leaders, NGO officials, and others, asking them to commit themselves to putting its proposals into practice
- Set and keep an interfaith, worldwide “Day of Prayer for Peace” for children and young people
- Hold young people’s workshops and seminars around the world to follow up on the Second Forum of the GNRC
- Share this Message with our parents, friends, and teachers, and publish it in school gazettes and magazines
- Talk to our friends about peace and get involved in peace education
- Create a children and young people’s magazine about peace, and create flyers in our different languages about GNRC activities, as well as the basic principles and strategies of the Interfaith Council on Ethics Education for Children, to be distributed in schools and elsewher.
- Take actions in solidarity with children in war-torn areas
- Achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves, that by achieving them we may inspire others in such a way that we can achieve world peace.
As children and young people, full of faith, love and hope, we commit ourselves to work together with adults, our peers, and even little children to create a world of peace and justice, based on respect, love and hope, where every child can live in freedom and grow up to be the best they can be. Children and young people are capable of bringing fresh perspectives and innovative attitudes to every challenge, and we can help to change the world. Please join us in making this world the kind of beautiful place that every newborn child expects it to be.