August 4 – Children’s Day

Children’s Day is a time for celebration and affirmation, to celebrate the strength and culture of Aboriginal children.

The 2022 theme is My Dreaming, My Future‘.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are born into stories of their family, culture, and Country. They carry with them the songlines of their ancestors and culture, passed down by generations. Their Dreaming is part of our history, while their futures are their own to shape.  

This year, Aboriginal children will be invited to reflect on what Dreaming means to them, how they interpret this in their lives and identity, and what their aspirations are for the future. 

Children’s Day is a time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities and all Australians to celebrate the strengths and culture of Aboriginal children. It is an opportunity to show our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.

A prayer*
Great and Holy Mystery, known and unknown,
We thank you for the blessing of this day.
We thank you for the blessings of this land: for its great beauty, for the power and the majesty of the land and the waters.
And we thank you especially for the people who live here, for our friends, our families, and our neighbours.
Today we wish to lift up our prayers to you for the children and the youth of our First Nation peoples.
We dare this day to dream for their futures. We dare to dream that their futures will be wonderful. That they will all be able to lead full lives, that they will have a wide variety of good experiences over the course of their lives and grow up to do things that will amaze us and amaze them.
Holy One, pour out your spirit of wisdom upon us. We are looking for guidance, courage, and your healing power to help all of us do everything possible to love, to encourage, to nurture, and at all times to look out for the safety and security of the children and young people who live among us.
We pray for our own children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and young siblings that all children and youth in our community may grow up in safety and in friendship together, growing in mutual understanding and mutual support as reconciled peoples.
Lead us, heavenly Spirit, to protect the children and youth and keep them safe from harm, in the loving embrace of a community that seeks to love all, as you so deeply love each and every one of us.
In Jesus’ loving name we pray. Amen.

The date – 4 August – was historically used to communally celebrate the birthdays of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were taken from their families at a young age, without knowing their birthday – the Stolen Generations. Prayer for the Stolen Generations.

It is especially poignant this year with the recent passing of Uncle Archie Roach, whose song Took the Children Away tells a very personal story that resonates deeply with the stolen generations. “This story’s right, this story’s true…” (Also ‘From Paradise‘)

In 1988, the first National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day was established on 4 August and was set against the backdrop of protests led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their supporters during the bicentennial year. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples felt a day was needed to celebrate Aboriginal children, to give them confidence and make them feel special and included.

Children’s Day has grown every year, becoming a major event in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and community organisations, with hundreds of events around the country.

References: History of Children’s Day; Children’s Day
*Prayer adapted from a United Church of Canada resource