- 'Let Them Come' - 'Let Them Work':Receiving/Using Children in a Globalised World
Whether or not we have children of our own, we are concerned about children in our midst and in our wider culture. Are they being raised with love and affection? Are they receiving a good education? Are they being exposed to good role models? How do we account for the serious problems many of them are facing, such as abuse, depression, teenage pregnancy, and poverty? Our concerns and questions are reflected in the growing number of public debates across liberal and conservative lines about children. Diverse political parties, non-profit agencies, and religious groups are focusing more attention on a number of issues, including child health and safety, education, child poverty, juvenile crime, child neglect and abuse, and the moral development of children. Certainly, the severity of these problems is highly debated, and there is disagreement about whether the present situation of children is better or worse than it was in the past. Nevertheless, broad public concern for children and heightened recognition of the tremendous challenges they face are unmistakable.1
The above quotation clearly posits the gravity of the condition of children globally. This is why there is a widespread concern and interest in children growing and gaining momentum, cutting across ideological, political, cultural, social, national and economic boundaries. The commitment to keep intact the children in all entireties as a category of the present and future is growing in a range of academic disciplines and discourses, reaching well beyond those areas of study/disciplines that have typically paid attention to children, namely, education and child psychology. Particularly, in the last few years, both in the Western and non-Western [End Page 249] worlds, historians, social scientists, theologians, ethicists, policy makers, psychologists and others have been exploring the history of childhood in their cultures, particularly in the areas of philosophical and theological conceptions, their cognitive and intuitive capacities and also their rights.
In addition to these, the sociologists and psychologists are engaged in groundbreaking studies especially in relation to effects of globalisation and its consequential impact on families, leading to divorce and single parenting that affect the children. Certainly, the interplay between economics and psychology should also be explored because of its influence on children's lives. In an era of globalisation, some of the studieshave also focused more directly on the influence of religion and ethics on children. The extent and multiplicity of such studies and research clearly shows that children as an important category ought to be understood comprehensively rather than in parts. Therefore,
Studies such as these are helping us to reflect more seriously on a number of questions regarding the nature of children and the obligations of parents and the wider community to children. The historical studies highlight conceptions of childhood and how they can change over time, and they prompt us to reflect on our own current attitudes toward and assumptions about childhood. The psychological and philosophical studies shed light on the complex emotional, intellectual, moral, and spiritual lives of children, and they raise a number of important questions about the development of children, about out treatment of them, and about their religious worlds. Studies in these and other disciplines, particularly sociology and law, have also challenged us to think not only about the obligations of parents toward their own children but also about the responsibilities of schools, religious organisations, local communities, and the state for nurturing children.2
Incidentally, several studies have opened up new areas, shedding lighton issues regarding children. These studies, devoted specifically to the diverse issues faced by children, raise questions and deepen the processof finding answers more fully within an ever-growing plethora of complexities of debates that the children encounter in an era of globalisation.
'Windows' and 'Fences' of children
Children are said to be the future of humanity. They come into this world with lots of joy and clouds of glory. Children are the eternal source of inspiration and hope. They are endowed with an infinite quantum of [End Page 250] possibilities, inherent in them. In view of this, Rabindranath Tagore has observed 'Every child comes with...