Imagine if a good fairy hovered over your baby’s cradle. What gifts would we ask her to give your child?
Not the material ones, good though these would be, but the ones that will help them be the fulfilled and compassionate adult they might become?
What gifts would we give all children?
We don’t need a good fairy to give the most important gifts. We can give kids love, to create resilience. Kids given love tend to give love back.
We can give kids time, the most precious resource of all, as no amount of money can compensate for an hour, or even ten minutes, at the vital moment that it’s needed.
But most of all we can give kids strength and courage by example. We can stand up and say, ‘This is wrong, and we must make it better.’
We can say, ‘This needs doing, and it will be our hands that begin it, rather than waiting for others.’
Every Children’s Week Award winner does far more than this. They show what can be done when people of goodwill work together.
What they do for children is not just the act itself, but the example, the memory, the inspiration: the gifts that will stay with each child forever.
Jackie French AM
Author, Historian, Ecologist, Honorary Wombat
Ambassador, National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature
Senior Australian of the Year, 2015
Australian Children’s Laureate 2014-15