Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
–– Matthew 7:16 to 20.
Former American president John F. Kennedy once noted that as we express our gratitude –– or whatever else, we dare to add –– we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
Just last Sunday, at the Crop Over Thanksgiving Service –– which might have been more than a service –– our Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, addressing the St James Anglican Church congregation on the issue of “too skimpy” Kadooment and Foreday Morning costumes, offered only as a corrective measure his own belief that there was room for “much more creativity” in the Crop Over Festival.
“Every year we have a lot of discussion about the kind of costumes that we should have,” the minister apparently lamented. “I saw discussions about whether the costumes we have are not too nippy, and so on. And I have refrained from commenting on the costumes intentionally, because [Crop Over] is so much more than about costumes.
“And it refers me to the continuous theme that Crop Over is more than a festival.”
To be frank, we thought the slogan was more than a carnival, which we ourselves had come to believe, until said Minister of Culture came up with the idea of the Christ Church Carnival, to which he might have applied the original Crop Over theme –– as associated catchphrases go these days.
We are told Mr Lashley appealed to the young and old to party more responsibly this Crop Over, and we assume he meant equally so at all state-approved pre-Crop Over public events, adults setting good examples for the younger.
Alas, the minister’s words had little effect last Monday on his own patronized Christ Church Carnival street parade in which scores of 14-year-olds were seen jamming from in front and from behind, in clear sex act simulation, with some of the very young girls in the six-thirty position as they wined to the “infectious music”.
That carnival which might just have been more than a carnival went down into the coarse and graceless gutters of the streets between Silver Sands and Wotton. And this all seemingly was missed by Minister Lashley, who reputedly is always “in the middle of everything”, as “being in the midst of the crowd, I am able to hear so much feedback in an informal setting”.
The question is: did the revellers –– young and old –– and the onlookers make known to the Minister of Barbadian Culture “their true feelings”, while he was “on the ground with them”, about the vulgar movementations of those impressionable youths in Monday’s Christ Church Carnival?
It would be unthinkable, in normal circumstances, having parents, or guardians, or mature neighbours gyrating, and bending down and pooching back on the streets of Barbados, with their tender offspring, charges, or juniors flanking them like glued and gluttonous, sex-deprived sidekicks. Then we wonder how the youth of today got “this way” –– or pretend to!
This blatantly vigorous wukking up among youths of school age was a no-no in the earlier years; never a normalcy –– certainly not 50 years ago! Generally then, a child’s public conduct became a problem if it did not match the expectations of family, community leaders or the church –– normal or good conduct being determined by what these entities considered socially, culturally and developmentally appropriate.
Today, when bona fide community role models speak out against unsavoury behaviour by our young, they may expect no quarter given from the defenders of “rights” and “Bajan culture”, whose accusation against us will be that of “merely righteous indignation”.
We accept that parenting and mentoring are not always easy, but by our degree of effort we will either gain from or pay heavily for what we help our young to become.
Mr Lashey might be appropriately advised that people may hear your words, but they feel your attitude, as the American author, speaker and pastor John C. Maxwell once said.
We aver the Minister of Culture and Youth is more than a Government minister!