A Child’s Bill of Rights

HL Meredith of the White Cliffs
recorded CE 2006

  1. I have the right to be fed. At camping events, I am hungry all the time, and I need small snacky meals (not sweets, though that’s what I like best!). I need protein and carbo’s to buffer me from being outside all day. I need lots of water; my tummy will be much happier if it is bottled water, not water from a pump or well that I am not used to.

    (Halima adds:
    b. – Even at a feast, they may not serve it when I am hungry, or the food may not be something I can or want to eat; please have something so my tummy doesn’t go empty.)

  2. I have the right to warm clothing. I need at least 3 changes of outfits for a day; you want me to ‘go play’ – that’s dirty work! I need a winter coat to put under my cape, and I need a hat for evening. I need 2 or 3 pairs of shoes, one pair of waterproof boots and lots of dry socks (and lots of clean undies!). I would like to have one ‘fancy’ outfit so I can show off, too.

  3. I have a right to medicinal aid. I may need sunscreen (and a hat). I may need insect repellent. Sometimes I need antihistamines or maybe an aspirin. I may be miserable and cranky because I am suffering from sunstroke or from hypothermia! I don’t know how to tell you I need these things, so you must watch to see what symptoms I am developing. (I usually know if I need a bandage! – and you should have one when I need it.)

  4. I need to be able to bring some of my toys, too. This is a really neat game you play, but sometimes I need my stuff. It would be fun to have toys that sort of matched your game too. And sometimes I don’t want to share my toys with those other kids! They are all fine, but sometimes I want to play on my own and I have the right to be left alone with my stuff if I want. And sometimes those kids are not nice! Believe me when I say I don’t like them; don’t make me be with kids I am afraid of.

  5. I need to have a right to my space. When you have lots of company, my chair gets used up and I have to eat my dinner standing up or sitting in a corner. That’s not fair!
  6. I need you to take me to the porta pots or outhouse; don’t send me! Those things are real scary and I have trouble with the doors and I am scared I am going to fall in and they smell bad and it would be nice to have company!!
  7. I need to have a reasonable bedtime. By the time it’s evening, I am very tired and cranky and I can not make that decision for myself. I need you to feed me, and bath me, and spend some time letting me wind down; then I need a warm bed that is within calling range of you. I need to know that someone is close by in case I am scared at night! (My own flashlight would really help!)
  8. I need to understand the ‘rules’ of this game. Sometimes you or other people get mad at me, and I don’t understand what I have done wrong. It’s not fun being yelled at when I don’t know what the problem is. Explain to me what and where the fighting field ropes are. Show me where the danger areas are roped off, and explain why! Explain to me that tent sites are other people’s homes, and that I should knock on their ‘door’ not just run in. Explain to me how I should act at ‘court’ (what is that anyway!?) (No, I really don’t remember from one Event to the next!)
  9. No, I don’t understand about your sex life! And I don’t need to be exposed to it. There are things in life I can learn about much later and I don’t need an in-tent demo!! Actually, this goes for your need for Alcohol and Drugs, too; I do not need to have their abuse demonstrated. It is very scary for a child to be around you in these situations. If that’s what you need from an event, why don’t you leave me with someone else at home?
  10. I need you to remember that, even though I am very little, I have feelings, too. When you discipline me in public, I feel like a worm!! This makes me really angry with you and it makes me ashamed to be around all your friends. I understand that I make you mad sometimes, but we would be able to work it out much better if you would take me aside and explain!! (Your friends would feel better about it, too.)