Minister of Education Ronald Jones today made a strong plea for stability in the lives of the island’s children, saying the responsibility belonged to “a parent” to ensure their children were on solid ground.
Jones made the call while delivering the keynote address at the 2016 graduation ceremony of the National Union Education Outreach School Programme at the headquarters of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) at Dalkeith Road, St Michael.
“I want us to recognize that youth can be like the reeds tossed to and fro, but they need some stability. Who first brings that? A parent. I said ‘a parent’; I did not say parents because I understand the social dynamics of our reality. If there are two parents, so be it. If there is one parent, a grandmother, an aunt, an uncle, a great uncle, a grandfather, so be it. Some stability is needed.”
Jones suggested that when the school environment was taken into consideration it must be seen as an oasis of peace for the island’s children so words of anger would not affect them.
“Words that are tinged with bitterness must not be allowed to get to the children minds because they are already having some difficulties. I do not want any more difficulties in the school environment,” Jones said.
Stressing the discipline that was instilled in the children of yesteryear, Jones said: “If a father had an old car he would take his children to church on Sundays and if he did not receive his week’s wages and could not buy petrol, the children would have to walk to church even if it was some distance from their homes. They did not give children laxatives on Sunday, they would give the children the laxatives on Saturday to ensure the children attended church on Sunday. Parents of that period were instilling values in their children that would serve them for a lifetime.”
The outreach programme was conceptualized by former NUPW General Secretary Dennis Clarke and retired principal Jeff Broomes, in collaboration with Sagicor and the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd to give a second chance to the children of Government workers who were retrenched in 2014.
Directing remarks at the 16 young graduates, Jones said: “As a society and as a civilization we cannot give up on anybody. I want you young people not to let your internal light be dulled by negatives either coming from people or as you see or perceive. Recognize that you can be the greatest light shining in the lives of others. Work well, work hard, achieve, persevere, commit yourselves to success because there may be someone sitting next to you who needs your light that they too can see light.”