At the Feb.13 Board of Supervisors meeting, we passed a resolution that proclaimed 2007 to be the The Year of the Child (andquot;Back 'Year of the Child' words with real action,andquot; Feb. 15). This was the first step in an attempt to change the consciousness of our community in the way we think of our children. Saying that everyone thinks children are a priority is easy; to cause a cultural change is much harder.

The fabled Masai tribe in Africa was renowned for its intelligence as well as being fierce warriors. Some might find it surprising that the greeting among warriors was the equivalent of andquot;And how are the children?andquot; with a desired traditional response of andquot;All the children are well.andquot; This form of greeting is still part of the Masai culture today and demonstrates the high value they hold for their children.

It begs the question of what would happen to this community and our children if we created a cultural change by simply greeting everyone asking andquot;And how are the children?andquot; How would it affect our consciousness regarding our children and their welfare if we heard that question several times a day? Perhaps this small cultural change, the way we greet each other, would have an impact on the reality of how we think of and care for our children. What if we constantly asked all our leaders, including the president and our governor ... andquot;And how are the children?andquot;

What the Board of Supervisors agreed to do was not only to proclaim 2007 as andquot;The year of the childandquot; but also to designate andquot;And how are the childrenandquot; as the official greeting to celebrate our county's 150th anniversary. We also agreed to celebrate all those who are partners in helping to raise our children, our most valued resource; noting that it takes the entire community. Furthermore, it is the goal of the board to realize the answer and be able to reply andquot;All the children are well.andquot;

We now start our meeting by asking andquot;And how are the children?andquot; and receive an appropriate report from one of our community partners. We will have andquot;And how are the Children?andquot; on all our letterhead for this coming year in our attempt to raise the consciousness level toward the welfare of children with all those with whom we communicate.

We support the library with resolutions and money as in the Wonder Bus collaborative, approve the Sheriff's budget which includes outreach programs, fund drug and alcohol programs, started and provide lead support to the physician recruitment committee, help fund and supply the boys and girls club with their facility and initiated and continue to participate in various economic committees dedicated to enhancing our economic condition. There are various community partners that the Board supports and will honor in the coming year: from CASA to the Child Care Council, from Child Abuse Prevention Council to Little League, from Scouting to Foster parents . . . and the list is a long one.

Join us in raising the consciousness level of our community to equal a cultural change, so that in December we can all answer andquot;The children are well ... yes, all the children are well.andquot;

Perhaps even the Triplicate could place that greeting in the daily paper and even dedicate a section to the children and those in the community committed to improving their welfare.

Reach David Finigan, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors' chairman, at