My grand-niece knows me as the ‘grandma-aunt’ who appears on the magic box my sister calls ‘My-Phone’. Our ritual is simple. My sister keys in my number, my grand-niece presses the green button and I appear on the screen. We say our hellos. She shows me her latest creation – a Lego tower of five blocks. Then we play ‘peek-a-boo’. For those who have never played, the rules are simple. You cover your eyes and ask, “Where is the baby?” Then you uncover your eyes and exclaim, “There she is!” My grand-niece will play this game for a good three minutes – which is a very long time when you have the attention span of 18 months.
From my grand-niece’s perspective, even though she has ‘disappeared’ for a nano-second, she reappears when I uncover my eyes. She is still there. She is still recognized. She is still beloved.
I believe the magic in the game lies in the fact that my grand-niece trusts me to be able to find her, no matter what. She is continuously reassured that I recognize her – which is a basic need of all humans. We all want to be ‘seen’ by those who love us.
Today there are over a thousand small children being forced into a challenging game of peek-a-boo with no hope or trust that their parents will be able to find them. My question is this: if you've ever played this game with a child and experienced their delight, if you've heard their gurgles of laughter - how could you possibly deny any child the right to be ‘found’ by their parents?