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We Need to Give More Than Seasonal Love to Children Who Are Growing up Without Families

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Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away” Elbert Hubbard

Every child needs love to thrive and grow in their own different ways. For children living in orphanages or child care centres, the love they experience is never enough for them. With every visit from well-wishers, they get a little bit of love, but it is never enough. They are left wanting more. The seasonal love, is it enough?

There is this culture in our communities to organize monthly or yearly visits to a children’s home. Many individuals and organizations volunteer for this selfless act.

The visit involves the donation of foodstuff, clothes, and other things that the children need for their daily use. Others sponsor them in the form of school fees and ensure the children can get a quality education. For the orphans living in children’s homes, this is their main mode of survival in many centres in Kenya.

Every time you step into a children’s home you will meet a child with a huge smile on their face and much expectation. The kind of joy you see on their faces usually brings you joy as well. It doesn’t matter if you go for an hour or a full day or week; the time you spend with the small girls and boys is important.

All humans are created in a way that we are strongly dependent on each other. We tend to desire to be around others even for a short time. We cannot live without each other. For everyone to grow and thrive they need a sense of community and belonging.

The orphaned children in these homes are not so different, but in their case, they only have each other in the home. They do not get quality long-term interaction with the world outside the home. This has led to different forms of negative impact on them.

They need a place where they feel they are part of the community around them. A place or set up to learn from those around them.

Secluded and marginalized

Some of the children start living in these homes from birth due to the various circumstances around them. Some may have lost their parents, others the situations in their homes could not allow them to live there. The only option left for them is these centres.

Orphans living in children’s homes especially in the African community tend to be marginalized and treated differently. They end up having very minimal interaction with the community around them. For some, the occasional visits are the only form of interaction they get to experience. This experience can leave them negatively impacted.

The negative impact that seasonal love can have on these children

Short term love

Human beings are naturally inclined to seek love. We want to experience love from the people around us, as well as love them back. Short-term volunteering in the children’s home simply means loving for a small period. This leaves them wanting more. It is never enough to last a lifetime.

Maltreatment/abuse

In some of the children’s centres, kids go through so much maltreatment and abuse. Years of growing up being abused cannot be easily erased by a one-day or one-week visit. As much as the visit will still be of great benefit for them, there are some areas of development that may stagnate.

Stagnating development

The children living in care centres tend to experience stagnation in various areas of growth. Stagnation can occur physically, emotionally, psychologically, or mentally. Any of these can cause them to not meet the societal demands and expectations of an individual.

Here are some ways development can be delayed:

Physical delays

Many children go through physical abuse that can affect their physical growth. For others, lack of food and good nutrition can cause stunted growth, the child may not be able to reach their normal milestones at the right time. All these can lead to disabilities hence hindering their full capability and potential from being developed.

Delayed social development

The children growing up in these institutions have a difficult time when they try to build long-lasting relationships. This is because many caregivers and volunteers are there temporarily. The short-term availability of caregivers ends up causing the children to feel abandoned and rejected. Many of the children grow up avoiding any kind of attachment in life.

Emotional and psychological detachment

Emotional and psychological development is crucial for children. When a child grows up in a children’s centre or orphanage, this is another development milestone that tends to be missing.

Detachment is easily caused by the needs of the child not being met at every development stage. Short-term caregiving and volunteerism is a great contributor to this. They do not connect deeply to be able to learn from these opportunities.

All humans have a symbiotic connection to each other. When disconnection happens, it hurts. Imagine going through this kind of hurt every month when you meet new volunteers and caregivers?

All children, regardless of where they grow up, need the love and care of those around them. They need to be nurtured to form healthy bonds and enable development. This is because every stage of development from birth to adulthood has its own needs that must be met.

Without these needs being met, an individual will grow with something amiss in them. It will make it difficult for them to integrate into society and be productive members of the community.

We, the community around them, can sacrifice time to visit on a scheduled timetable and make it consistent. It will enable them to connect deeper with us and be impacted in a wholesome way.

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3 responses to “We Need to Give More Than Seasonal Love to Children Who Are Growing up Without Families”

  1. Mawere says:

    Insightful

  2. Okoko Geoffrey says:

    So True, it’s not enough to say “I love you” and leave the Child homeless and angry. Acts of love carry one into many years of fruitfulness and stability of heart and purpose. Let us love every child around us unconditionally. The One above chose that they be here and nearby.

  3. Daisy says:

    Very informative. Actions of love should be permanent. Its alot to ask but vital.

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