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Extended version of the address given by Landon Pearson to the research and policy conference held by the Institute for Health and Social Policy of McGill University in Montreal on May 1, 2010. The theme of the McGill conference was “Making Equal Rights Real”. Click here for the full report (PDF) or watch the video.
Ottawa, January 24 to January 25 - Landon Pearson attended the national gathering: The Sacred Space of Womanhood: Mothering Across the Generations. Hosted by the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health the meeting explored the role of cultural transmission from grandmothers through to mothers-to-be in the post-residential school era. The event will lead to a third documentary film in a suite of DVDs that is continuing to support families and communities. Previous gatherings have focused on the role of fathers to strengthen the circle of care for children and youth, plus "Messages from the Heart - Supporting the Next Generation" in 2009, which included a Showcase on Aboriginal Child Rearing - Caring for Our Families and Children, with a presentation by Landon Pearson.
Excerpts from the speech at the United Nations World Summit for Children, in New York, dated September 30, 1990. On signing - on behalf of the Czech Republic - the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children:
... The international community has achieved something unprecedented. Most of the countries of the world have, within months, joined an exceptionally good, precise and exhaustive international agreement for the protection of children. I rejoice, as we all do, in this achievement and am proud that I had the honour of signing the agreement on behalf of my country this morning.
At the same time, however, I believe that this agreement or any other conceivable international document cannot protect children from pseudo-protection, that is, from their parents committing more evil in the name and in the interest of children whether in good faith, in self-delusion or by deliberately lying and from hurting themselves more than they can hurt the children.
As with any law, this one too can only acquire real meaning and significance if it is accompanied by real moral self-awareness, by which I mean the moral self-awareness of parents.
You cannot put that into a law. However, if it were possible, I would add another paragraph to the agreement I signed this morning. This paragraph would say that it is forbidden for parents and adults in general in the name and allegedly in the interest of children, to lie, serve dictatorships, inform, bend their back, be afraid of tyrants, and betray their friends and ideals. And that it is forbidden for all murderers and dictators to pat children on the head.
~ Václav Havel, statesman and playwright, born 5 October 1936; died 18 December 2011