The sustainability of society is measured by its approach to its children

What is ‘being a child’ and ‘becoming an adult’ all about in Germany 2011?

The fact is that cracks are starting to emerge in the social fabric. The birth rate is lower than ever before. The proportion of older people in the population is rapidly increasing and at the same time life expectancy is expected to rise even further. As a result, a decreasing number of young people of working age will be required to support pensioners for an increasing amount of time. In principle, this should not be a problem: Germany is one of the richest countries in the world. However: this level of affluence has been achieved primarily through top quality scientific and productive innovation and services. Continuing this tradition will require more creative and high-performing young people who are willing to learn more than ever before as well as a peaceful setting, rich in opportunities, which promotes talent, opens up new ideas and concepts and recognizes and rewards services to society.

Every investment in the education and training of children is an investment in the sustainability of society. Every child counts!

However: more and more children have few prospects or else do not have the freedom or the necessary support to develop their talent, starting right from their family home. The ‘Kinderreport 2007’ published by the Kinderhilfswerk organisation in German states that more than 2.5 million boys and girls are dependent on social support – every sixth child! This situation is almost always seen as a flaw and often as concrete poverty and has significant and often fatal consequences: according to the report, one in three ‘poor children’ need therapy or are displaying behavioural problems by the time they start school. Even at primary school, one in three children receiving social support have to repeat a class and one in four leaves school without any qualifications, often dropping out prematurely. And that’s not all: children from socially disadvantaged families eat less healthily and exercise less, which can have a very negative impact on health and performance during these early years of life as well as making it impossible for them to live a self-determined, fulfilled and happy life.

Every child is a reflection of our society! In future, we should therefore look more closely into the faces of ‘our’ children and work together to treat the causes and transform the future!

A difficult childhood or problematic family relations does not have to determine the rest of a person’s life. Today there are many tried and tested methods and individual offers for children, young people and families which can help to resolve specific crisis situations, identify personal opportunities for development and help them live an independent and successful life.