Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
–– Matthew 2:17 and 18.
Though offered cautiously, we are most thankful and grateful we can boast no chronicles of, or experience in, infanticide or mass child slayings. The multiple stabbing or gunning down of our schoolchildren is unheard of –– and we pray shall remain so.
We have not yet got over such happenings too often bursting on the news scene in the United States and elsewhere, with children as young as five years to ten perishing in freak and lunatic carnage. And it is not unknown for the tragedy, calamity and consequent familial distress to strike through the hands of some lone evil gunman roaming the school compound, among other targeted sites.
On occasion, it has been an angered student himself relieving tension, or exacting vengeance as he has seen demonstrated by older but no more mature or more literate males.
To the relief of many of us, some of these killers turn their weapons of death on themselves –– after having, most sadly, first taken out parents, neigbours, or teacher before going on their rampage.
As aforementioned, we can brag of no such sadistic scenes here –– which may speak to the overall temperance of our nature and the national shock we would go into learning of children killing one another. Squabbling and fist fighting there will be, with making up coming shortly, we tell ourselves, but the undisguised evil of child killing, never!
Let it not be forgotten, we pretty much felt the same way about the actions and reactions of young and old. Once, we never dreamed a Barbadian would shoot
to death another on account of a difference of opinion, or on being asked to respect the “sovereignty” of another’s property, or on being simply asked to be tidy.
Now, we can boast it is becoming commonplace. There are enough exemplars of murderous thought for our very young and school students.
And the point was made, of all days, on Independence Day last Monday as we presumably celebrated 49 years of nationhood, Carnival-style.
It is no secret that many Barbadians born since November 30, 1966, have lost their way, not being privy to the several values and traditions that made most of us a nation people in the first place. To boot, too many of us to whom this heritage was passed on have dropped it by the wayside for more “progressive thinking”, “modern” positioning and unlimited “rights”.
One national social consequence has been intellectual confusion, lack of independent thought and absence of valour for the greater part among our leaders and other powers that be. They would rather be satellites of many, as we wend our way towards a half-century of Independence.
At this time of our “development” they continually twaddle about corporal punishment in schools, same-sex marriage, the rights of gunmen, Government benefit from the proceeds of drug-dealing –– and the list of inanities goes on. Religion is not for setting moral standards among ourselves and our seed, but accommodating the celebration of anniversaries and launching of projects only.
More now than ever, we need to impress upon our children that religious knowledge in the classroom is more than a subject for grading. It may not currently be the springboard to their “salvation”, but it could be a catalyst for change in hearts scabbed by inconsiderateness, bitterness and an appetite for reprisal –– poor qualities they see exhibited around them by their elders daily.
Truth be told, we all need to muse upon the words of the Master Jesus Christ:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
–– Matthew 5:43 to 48.
We do our young great wrong when we send them these mixed signals on discipline and on taking responsibility for our deeds and actions. We do them even greater evil when we capitulate, and subsume them and ourselves in the things we think they would prefer to hear. Worst of all, we do our nation no good whatsoever.
Shall we keep Rachel weeping for her children, and not be comforted, for they are not?