After the anxious wait, White Sunday is here.
Today, thousands of children across the nation are marching in their finest white to celebrate one of the most anticipated events on the national calendar.
The Chairman of the National Council of Churches, Deacon Kasiano Le’aupepe, has a simple message for the nation.
He wants parents to use today to renew their commitment to care, protect and raise their children to become the best they can be when they grow up.
“White Sunday is a very special occasion,” he said. “It is a day for rejoicing for the children and everyone is nice to the children, treating them with love and care because it is a day ‘special’ for them."
“If White Sunday generates within our families a special feeling of peace and love towards our children, why don’t we make that everyday standard and thereby practice putting an end to all violence and abuse.”
Kasiano believes that violence and ill treatment against children is not going to stop as long as we continue to selectively use texts from the bible to justify our action.
“Everyone should be responsible and in my honest opinion, if we treat them badly our children will grow up to have children of their own and will apply to them the same violent treatment they witnessed as youngsters and so the cycle continues."
“Parents, churches and the whole community can play an influential role in putting an end to this for our children."
He said change was not going to happen overnight.
“Change will come if we keep hammering the same message consistently and our community and church together with our leaders are seen leading by example.”
He adds it is not just the physical abuse and violence we should be concerned about.
“It is also verbal violence and I believe that’s why many children leave home at a very young age.” Kasiano said.
“Everyday should be White Sunday and that special treatment for them today should continue everyday."
“Our children need all the love they can get, we as parents must provide them with an environment that is free from physical and emotional abuses."
“Instead of punishing them for their mistakes we must explain to them why a particular behaviour is not acceptable and we may have to do that many times for them to understand."
He adds another problem today is children selling items on the street everyday.
“This will certainly reduce severely the chances of them getting employment later on.”
Kasiano says the best gift parents can give to their children is education.
“White Sunday is truly a Samoan innovation that we should be proud of and I am sure other countries too have followed and adopted the concept years ago."
“Let today, after the feasting and songs, be used to renew our commitment to our children."
“Remember to raise them in Godly love. Happy White Sunday Samoa.”