Yesterday, November 19, marked International Men's Day (IMD) - a day that has been celebrated for more than two decades.
According to The Telegraph newspaper: “Each year, International Men's Day shines the spotlight on men making a difference and the issues men face globally and IMD can be an important catalyst to opening up discussion around the unique struggles facing men. While it is not currently recognised by the UN, requests for an IMD date back as far as the 1960s and according to organisers its purpose is to "encourage men to teach the boys in their lives the values, character and responsibilities of being a man."
Falling on November 19 every year, IMD is celebrated in more than 60 countries worldwide including Singapore, Australia, India, the UK, the US, South Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, Hungary, Malta, Ghana, Moldova and Canada. This date falls on the birthday of Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, a doctor from Trinidad and Tobago who relaunched International Men’s Day in 1999.
Dr Teelucksingh said in a statement: "International Men’s Day is observed on an annual basis by persons from all walks of life, who support the ongoing effort to improve lives, heal scarred hearts, seek solutions to social problems, mend troubled minds, reform the social outcasts and uplift the dysfunctional. IMD is designed to promote positive role models in society and develop wholesome individuals."
Each year IMD has a different theme, with last year's being 'Positive Male Role Models'. This year's theme is 'Making a Difference for Men and Boys'. Warwick Marsh, coordinator of internationalmensday.com, said the inspiration behind this year's chosen theme is wanting to 'promote the need to value men and boys' and to help make 'practical improvements in men and boy's health and wellbeing'.
In September, my wife and I had the wonderful experience of taking our 15 year-old granddaughter to her first International Film Festival. We spent Thanksgiving with our daughter and two of our grandchildren, in Montreal. On our return, one of our sons travelled from the UK and spent 2 weeks with us and, tonight, I’ll be on the ‘phone to our other son to chat about his new job and all things sport.
Our children and grandchildren are the most important things in our life. We share all their ups and downs, successes and disappointments, adventures and relationships and try to offer advice or sometimes just a listening ear. We are lucky. They are all in good health, have had or are having good educations and all have roofs over their heads.
Sometimes, we take a moment to remind ourselves how lucky we are that our children and grandchildren a have access to all of these benefits and be thankful. But, as we well know, it is not the same for all children. And I’m not just talking about children in third world countries.
Today, November 20th. is World Children’s Day. World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.
November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is 30 years since world leaders made this historic commitment to the world’s children, an international agreement on childhood.
It has become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transition children’s lives, around the world. WChildren's Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children's rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for children.
This is a time to celebrate our children and a time to take some action to make a difference in the lives of other children, perhaps locally, nationally or internationally.
So, today, why not look for an opportunity to celebrate the men and the children in your life?
About the Author
Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNN, BBC, CBC, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.
In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” will be out in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com and see what he can do for you in the long run.