Children and My Taz Profile Picture
One late Wednesday evening, while me and my two little girls are tucked on the bed ( we were waiting for Eric to declare “lights off”- a signal that the three of us (Me, Alia and Aisha) should already sleep**meaning: close our eyes and stop making any noise*), I asked my five year old daughter, Alia, what she wants for Christmas. Looking surprised, she asked me if she can wish for anything and if it will happen or if I will give it to her. Playfully, I nodded and assured her that she can make a Christmas wish and it will come true. She smiled mysteriously and I noticed how she thought for a while before she blurted out: “Candies! I wish I have lots of candies for Christmas!”.
The next morning, I opened my Facebook account and I noticed that most of my friends’ profile pictures were some cartoon characters. I clicked a friend’s name and I saw this post on her status message: ” Change your profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories. This is a campaign to stop violence against children.” I smiled to myself, thinking that the post may be one “meme” among others that have been popularly spreading across Facebook and other social networking sites. **(The term, “meme” or “internet meme” is used to describe either a concept or cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures or most commonly via the internet.) Nonetheless, I still checked my collection of cartoon character images and decided to post a picture of Taz, the Tasmanian Devil (my sweet, devil-ish alter ego) from Looney Tunes. After four seconds (that fast!), a friend “liked” my profile picture and after a few more minutes, I read from my News Feed that 28 among my Facebook friends changed their profile pictures like I did. I couldn’t help but grin on that.
Two days after I borrowed a face from Taz for my Facebook profile, I was not surprised to see almost all my friends having the same cartoon-style profile photos. Some of them had some rather very old (*when I said “old”, I wanted to mean that I haven’t seen those cartoon characters during my early childhood years *) cartoon characters while most came up with any one from a long list of adorable and cute princesses, fairies, superheroes and others.
Then, I started wondering how many, among my friends, could have possibly read the embedded message on the “post” (calling) about the campaign to stop violence against children. Many, I hoped. Most of us have, in one way or another, either witness or heard a story, in any form, of violence against children.
Around the world, across different beliefs and sometimes, idiosyncrasies, millions of children are continuously abused, exploited, trafficked, abandoned, forcefully gotten married with, beaten, terrorized and killed. For me, it is a very simple issue though: hitting (or hurting) people is wrong and children are people too. What’s equally depressing is the fact that, inside some families, children sometimes become miserable subjects of an old dogma, so-called “allowable punishments” from their parents.
A number of parents run the risk of abusing their parental role and inflicting harm on their children. Personally, I adhere to the notion that I should become capable of honestly experiencing myself in the shoes of my child while taking a disciplinary action. I also insist this matter to Eric, who, sometimes, has a different corrective “style” than me. I remember reading an article months ago about international advocacies focused on preventing violence against children, how the UN carried out a comprehensive, global study (following on from the previous global study that had looked at the particular impact of armed conflict on children) some years back.
The key message of the human rights-based gesture is that no violence against children is justifiable and that all violence is preventable. Through channeled reports, member nations conducted interview research with children and parents where children may feel empowered to speak out more about their experiences in their homes and schools. Unsurprisingly, children tell us how much “routine” violence, and adults’ acceptance of it, hurts them, not just physically – but also how badly it hurts them “inside. Children are human beings. They are different than adults but they are equally valuable in the society to function well. We, adults, should learn from their meekness, innocence, simplicity and honesty.
Whether the Facebook-cartoon profile picture was merely another internet “meme” or a real campaign against violence on children, I hope that everyone learns a lesson or two from that “post”. We all have been a little child before and we know how essential it was for us to be cared for, nurtured, and loved. It is our “calling” to do the same to all other children around us-whether they are part of our family or not.
As a Mom of two little girls, I don’t have the exact words to describe how proud I am of them and how blessed my life has been since I have them...but I can only share the joy of having kids and how beautiful and complete my life is, with them around. That’s freaking way too far from being a “Taz” myself eh?! Oh, and by the way, this morning, on our way to Alia’s school, she told me that she changed her mind about her Christmas wish… she said that she didn’t want candies anymore … instead, she wants either an iPhone or a Laptop.
What makes me happy?
People. Everyone around me who believes and inspires me.
Life itself is a happy experience. The world is a happy place.
I had my own share of struggles, life was not easy for us back then but my Dad taught me how to believe in myself, work hard , be kind and to be strong. He inspired me to go out of my comfort zone. He used to tell me that the possibilities in life are endless and so I believed him.
l Iost him quite a few years ago but he has left me with so much inspiration to follow my dreams - to visit places I have only dreamt of or have seen in the movies when I was little and to do things I thought were only for the privileged few.
Wherever I go, I always remember my Dad, wishing he could see me from afar and somehow be proud of me as I have always been so proud of him. Life is short and I promised him that I would make the most of mine.
Travelling makes me happy and in all other things, I choose happiness. We all should- always..