“Child labor... constitutes a kind of violence that is less obvious than others but it is not for this reason, any less terrible.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Lib. Ed. Vat. 2004)
While the same Social Doctrine of the Church formally and emphatically teaches about the “Necessity of Work”, the “Right to Work”, the “Promotion of Work” and other concerns, the said body of teachings gives special concern to Child Labor usually covering teenagers. Yes, work is imperative for adults in general such as at home and in their fields, in markets and factories, in offices and companies, and the like. But Child Labor is not acceptable much less commendable. So it is that:
1. When a child with the proper age is tasked “to work” in terms of having his/her things arranged, of cleaning his/her room and other usual children agenda, this is not Child Labor really. Such agenda are instead meant for his/her character building, value formation and proper discipline. In this case, it is certainly not the work itself that really counts but the character formation of the child, the latter’s value system and the like – all in preparation for the child’s adulthood.
2. Child labor in its strict sense means downright manual work such as in the realm of business, in the sphere of production and the like. The ultimate rationale of such ventures is for the child to earn not only for his/her own subsistence but also for the latter’s family – and even others, possibly. So it is that a “Working Child” is neither standard nor normal. In fact, such a phenomenon is a big shame not only to the parents but also to country as a while. So it is that “Child Labor” is a big contradiction.
3. The truth of the matter is that no child is born into the world without the consummate complementation of his/her parents. In the same way, no child would grow by his/her own self but only through the nurturing support of his parents and/or elders. Much less can a child educate himself/herself. Parenthood is essentially meant for the upbringing and education of children. So it is that the principle of “Responsible Parenthood” came to fore as a basic element of marriage.
So it is that among the elementary and fundamental features of childhood is dependency – in food, clothing, and shelter in addition to the love and care of the couple who authored its coming into the world. Husband and wife incapable of nurturing a child, have no right to bring him/her into the world.
And so it is that child labor is a big and clear expression of inhumanity if not downright barbarism. That is why such a detestable phenomenon is usually found among uncivilized peoples with uncouth cultures and consequent distorted value systems. Child labor is indefensible.
Drugs and criminality are big problems in the Country – but not the only problem.