Inspired by Raffi’s dedication

Can you sing along with “Baby Beluga” and get all the lyrics right?
“Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea/Swim so wild and swim so free.”
You remember! This song was written and released by Raffi in 1980, and is one of his signature songs that has crossed generations.
Though he didn’t write it, “Robin in the Rain” is my favourite of the songs Raffi recorded, with “Brush Your Teeth” pulling a close second.
Raffi has made a lifetime career of singing for and to children. He was born Raffi Cavoukian in Egypt in 1948 and moved to Canada at age 10.
He stumbled into a career of entertaining children, but it was a magical and perfect fit. He formed his own production company, Troubador, to be certain that his music was produced for children with the high standards he wanted.
Raffi didn’t stop at creating, recording, and producing music for children. He refused to allow his music to be used for advertising targeted at children and he has gone on to be the founder of the Centre for Child Honouring, with his “vision for global restoration [in the creation] of a humane and sustainable world by addressing the universal needs of children.”
He speaks of nine guiding principles: “respectful love,” to be taught about the abundance of “diversity” in the world, to live in a “caring community” that provides pesticide-free parks, green schoolyards, etc., “conscious parenting” where parents are nurturing (which is neither permissive nor oppressive), to recognize the “emotional intelligence” of children, “non-violence,” “safe environments,” “sustainability,” and “ethical commerce.”
A musician, an author, a lecturer, and an essayist, Raffi has dedicated his life to that vision. Raffi was awarded the Order of Canada in 1983.
The suicide death of Amanda Todd in 2012 after years of cyber harassment moved Raffi to call for a reform in social media in his book “Lightweb Darkweb: Three Reasons to Reform Social Media Be4 It Re-Forms Us.”
He urged Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to implement changes to protect children from cyber-bullying, but that urging has fallen mostly on deaf ears it seems. Raffi is very vocal about the need to limit media connections for children, including television, Internet, and cellphones.
Honouring children would allow us to examine how we treat the planet, how corporate power can impact the minds and bodies of our children, how we invest our money as individuals and as communities, and every facet of our daily lives comes into consideration.
Every single child is entitled “to love, to dream, and to belong to a loving village.” Raffi calls on us to protect our most “vulnerable citizens,” to keep them from harm and neglect.
The Dalai Lama wrote the foreword of Raffi’s book, “Child Honouring: How To Turn This World Around.” For further information on the details of this covenant, visit www.childhonouring.org
I am inspired by Raffi’s dedication to his vision. If every child grew up knowing he/she was loved and safe, this world would be a much different place.
And if we as adults—adults in the home, in corporate power, in government—put the needs of our children ahead of all else, making the right decisions would come much easier.
wendistewart@live.ca

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