The Quality of Life for all People is Dependent upon the Quality of Our Society
Protecting children from maltreatment must become a priority or our society will continue our descent toward creating unhealthy, unbalanced, fear driven generations who are left without the life skills or know how to lead a good life.
School, social media, religion, care homes and society in general have become a battlefield in recent years causing great concern for individuals tasked with promoting the well-being of children whether they be teachers, religious leaders, parents or students themselves.
With the diverse culture in our society, it is still possible to achieve a code of conduct that survives the test of diversity if it is designed in a way that everyone can benefit through adherence to policies. For this environment to be truly effective, guidelines must be established and apply to everyone, for if they don’t apply to everyone, they apply to no one.
When we recognize the importance of everyone, we can co-exist in an environment when we know that all persons are valued equally.
Creating win-win solutions allows for an exceptional environment that promotes education, inspiration, safety and above all else, integrity. It is from the spirit of integrity that we can protect all people who are connected to these facilities regardless of their position in the system.
For many reasons there is concern that components of our society need to be addressed, modified and rewritten to reflect the truth about our human nature. When we have a better understanding of our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical needs, we can guide younger generations to aspire to grow into being the best version of them self.
As new guidelines are being developed, rewritten and put in place, we can remain true to our values to help everyone come from a place of integrity. With the empowerment of integrity, we can create environments which elevates everyone’s self esteem and sense of confidence. When we anchor our intentions with integrity, it strengthens our inner core helping people to thrive to their maximum potential.
For the individuals who work with children there are basic caveats to guide you such as:
- Always have the best intention for the person(s) you are working with as your primary objective
- Stay true to yourself and your integrity
- Always come from a place of truth
- Encourage self-development and growth when appropriate
- Remove yourself if you are in conflict of interest
- Above all else, Do No Harm
In knowing your intentions are for the highest good for all parties involved, we can also outline what behaviors are not to be embarked upon.
Negative environments can affect anyone, and because children in particular are impressionable, they can spiral downwards if exposed to it for a short or a prolonged period of time. This can have detrimental and long term effects on them making it more difficult to participate in, enjoy and feel inspired in life.
Children model after adults. Emotionally well-adjusted adults are what children need to guide them and protect them until they are mature enough and able to make healthy decisions for themselves. Children need adults to look out for their well-being, not only the adults in their immediate family, but the adults they come across at various junctures in their lives through various organizations and associations.
Emotionally well-adjusted adults consider the consequences their actions and behaviours will have on the child five, ten and even fifteen years down the road before they undertake them, where non-emotionally adjusted adults don’t have the skills to discern the difference.
The following are specific behaviors to avoid as they can cause incredible harm to a developing child.
Physical abuse includes all acts by a caregiver, or another person (including another child, teacher, coach, clergy or person who has access to the child) which results in the physical harm to the child.
- It may be the result of physical abuse or the result of inappropriate or excessive discipline regardless of the intent by the person inflicting the abuse.
- It is irrelevant whether the injury to the child is considered minor or major; the responsibility and accountability fall to the person inflicting the abuse.
- hurting a child to control their behaviour
- deliberate or not; use of physical punishment resulting in injury whether marks are left on the child or not
- physical injury that occurs resulting from lack of care or supervision by the caregiver or an adult/older child
- excessive tickling
- physical injury resulting from shaken infant syndrome
Intellectual Abuse involves the interfering with or impairing the reasoning skills of a child, which alters a child’s ability to discern and use proper judgement to form opinions and to distinguish between truth and lies.
These behaviours include but are not limited to
- manipulation of the child’s thoughts so the child will draw a conclusion that the controller wants them to believe.
- telling lies to a child with the intention of having the child believe those lies are a reality.
- threatening a child, with the intent of having the child behave a certain way for the benefit of the person doing the threatening.
- not taking a child’s concerns seriously when they tell you of incidents of bullying or abuse.
- Telling children to resolve their own issues when they are being bullied by another child.
- manipulating the people around the child with the intent of interfering with the child’s intellectual environment.
For the most part, child sexual abuse involves a person who has power or influence over a child. This power can stem from that person’s authority, age, intellectual or physical development, relationship, authority or power over, or dependence with the child. It can include age or predatory nature of another child or adult who encourages or forces a child into sexual activities.
Sexual abuse encompasses any sexual activity with a child, including but not limited to
- genital stimulation
- oral sex
- grinding your genitals up against a child under the pretense of giving a body hug or otherwise
- using fingers, penis, or objects for vaginal or anal penetration
- touching a child in a sexual way
- promoting or demanding unsafe sex
- kissing inappropriately
- using a child for their own sexual gratification, exploitation, or for financial or other gain (payment for drugs or debts)
- forcing or encouraging a child to touch another adult/child in a sexual way
- forcing or encouraging a child to touch him/herself for another person’s gratification
- masturbating in front of a child or forcing/coercing/encouraging them to masturbate themselves with or without the intent of having the child achieve orgasm
- rape, either vaginal or anal
- sexual dialogue with or in front of children
- inappropriate displays of sexual expression in front of children
- forcing or encouraging a child to participate in pornography or prostitution
- sexual comments directed to or about a child encouraging others to be offside with the child (e.g. “Look everyone, little _______, is developing breasts”)
- male or female genital mutilation or threat of
Emotional abuse is a pattern of overt or covert behaviour directed towards a child with a goal of controlling or reducing the esteem of the child. Understanding there is a consequence for everything we do and say is a great reminder of how powerful our words and actions are.
These behaviours include but are not limited to:
- a pattern of attacking a child’s sense of worth and/or emotional development
- criticizing a child’s actions, looks, feelings, dress, etc.
- belittling a child
- threatening: “If you don’t conform….”
- threatening a child’s loved one(s) or family, if a child does not behave a certain way
There are many different viewpoints regarding spirituality and what it means. There are believers and non-believers that our spirituality is a part of the human condition. As there seems to be gravitation toward spirituality again, it is timely to examine the merits of it. Although everyone has the right to decide for them self what is right for them, for the believers, spirituality contributes to our sense of wholeness. Spirituality and religion can be, but are not necessarily inclusive.
Some religious organizations advocate for marriage with girls under age 18. For many, and rightly so, this is considered abuse because most 18-year-old girls are not mature enough to choose a mate for themselves wisely. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could act in the best interest of the children when it comes to human sexuality?
For many, our spirituality involves our feeling of wholeness and our connectedness to our own sense of inner and divine guidance. It is the integration of the mind, body and soul within itself and with our connection to all that is around us. It also influences how we interact within the world around us including our relationship with nature. It also involves believing in a power or force that is greater than our individual, physical selves. This power goes by many names depending on your belief. Source, source of energy, spirit, universe, God, Allah, and Creator are some of the more common terms used. For many, the above words are synonymous with all encompassing, unconditional love and are sourced in divinity. Spirituality is all encompassing and involves how we express who we are with others and in the environment around us. It is what unites us as one.
For many, spirituality is found by turning to their own intuition, inner wisdom, and higher consciousness for divine guidance. This can be achieved either through prayer, meditation and various practices in energy work. Some people prefer to use a combination of both inner guidance (prayer and meditation), and outer reinforcement (from religious/spiritual groups) to enhance their spiritual connection. Spending time alone in quiet contemplation, in prayer or in meditation is a gentle way to reacquaint yourself with your spiritual practices.
Deeper meaning in life cannot be found through intellect alone. To experience deeper meaning in life, one must look within. Spirituality can help facilitate deeper appreciation when you encompass all aspects of your inner self. It is by mastering our inner world that we find true meaning of life.
Accessing our spirituality requires we spend time alone to cultivate our ability to use our inner divine guidance as we process the choices that are presented to us in life.
Inward reflection can be encouraged in children at an early age. By encouraging them to spend time alone with their own thoughts, feelings, inner awareness, hobbies, creative interests and to connect with nature prepares them to turn to their own intuition later in life as they go about establishing their priorities and choices. Creative expression and passion can also develop into a life purpose as they mature and can be the foundation they use to build a relationship with themselves.
Developing the ability to turn to your own inner guidance is instrumental in being able to learn to trust your own judgment as one matures into adulthood. To grow up guided by one’s principles requires preparation and an examination of one’s priorities and values. As one learns to trust their own guidance, it will help them as they are faced with life’s situations, and the subsequent actions they take based on their decisions.
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I hope you have found the tips in this ‘Oath’ helpful. Most people want to provide an environment of safety on all fronts for all members of society.
Knowing what not to do as you interact with others is as important as getting it right. Knowing this can provide everyone with confidence as they interact with others and it goes a long way in creating trust in the areas that service our youth. By knowing both what to do and what not to do and why, you create an environment where everyone is, and does, feel safe.
If we want to effect positive change, it helps to stop repeating the same patterns of communicating and interacting especially if they have created problems for us in the past. If we don’t make those changes in our communication patterns and how we interact with others, it makes it difficult to expect anything to change around us for the better.
By reviewing our communication patterns and our intentions, issues can be addressed and redirected, and can better reflect the needs of all of society’s members.
As a model for best practices, I, (name)___________________am aligned with the above oath and pledge to follow the guidelines as prescribed as they are in the best interest of children while in my care.
If you know of anyone person, group or organization interested in having and following the best of intentions to protect children through taking the ‘Oath To Do No Harm,’ they can contact us through our website at www.endinggloballoneliness.com
©Sandy Glaze 2018 All rights reserved
The above Oath is provided by Sandy Glaze. Sandy Glaze is a Personal Transformational Coach who specializes in self-development and interpersonal relationships. She is a Certified Strategic Intervention and an Advanced Relationship Coach, published author and speaker.
You can visit her at www.endinggloballonliness.com or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org