Why rich children are allowed to work and earn money in the media industry and poor and needy children are stopped from working in the name of child labor?
I got clarity on this subject when I was listening to audiobook “Playful Parenting”. It gave me clarity on ‘What is Child Labor?’, ‘Why is it bad? Or is it really bad?’ most importantly ‘What is work and what is play?’
This is how it goes…
What is Child Labor?
It is important to first understand ‘what is Child Labor?’ and ‘why is it bad?’ Child labor robs children of their Childhood. Childhood is about freedom, dreams, play, and playfulness. Child labor takes away the freedom and playfulness and as a result of that slowly children stop playing and dreaming. Wouldn’t you agree with me, when a child is forced to do something that they don’t enjoy, isn’t it equally bad as child labor. Things like household responsibilities, school homework, and also even for that matter going to school and sports, if the child has not enrolled into it and we need to force them, then isn’t it equally bad as child labor? In modern times we don’t force children. Instead, we use subtle forces, like “If you are not going to study this then don’t ask me anything, do whatever you want.” or “If you do good in sports, you will get a new bicycle or a shiny star.” I have done this so many times. I feel this is how we conditioning our children, don’t we? Conditioning children mean to get children to do things for some exterior motive. In child labor, it is about money and supporting the family and in the urban world, this is about that shiny star and praises.
What is work and what is play?
I have a friend who’s young school going daughter is a great singer. She enjoys singing for the media industry and also earns money. This gives her a great playground to do what she loves doing and also gives her sense of achievement and contribution. So, money or no money, as long as the child is enjoying what she is doing how does it matter if she is working or playing? If we are not enjoying a game, then can the sports be a play for us? and on the other hand if we enjoy doing something, even the work is play for us, isn’t it? When playing everything is effortless for us, that’s why children never want to stop playing because they will never get tired. There is no effort in play. Similarly, if we are enjoying our work, will we get tired?
Is child labour bad and adult labour good?
Child or adult, does it matter? Isn’t our life is just about playing? Why not do what we enjoy in our life? Many of us have stopped playing for long long time. This is due to the ‘Conditioning’ that we have gone through. We have always been doing things for exterior motives and now we don’t even know what are our inner (heart) wants. How do we know what our heart wants? Then we get into spiritual practices like Yoga, Pranayama, and meditation to un-condition ourselves. Which is good because we don’t have a choice there. But our children still have a chance, to not be ‘Conditioned’.
So let’s give our children unconditional love and engage with them unconditionally. When we do this we teach them to do things just because it feels good, because it is fun, do it for love. Let there be no ‘labor’ in the world.