So from the get-go, I am issuing my disclaimer: This article has absolutely nothing to do with politics; rather, it is about a distressing trend I am finding in my country which grieves my heart. I love living in Barbados, I am proud to be a Bajan. Yet, weekly, I am finding it more and more challenging as a “die-hard” Bajan to hold on to the love I have for this fair land of ours.
Shock and awe was the most apt term I could conjure up in my mind as I received a message on a social media platform about a double murder, right here on our shores. I am glad that I was seated when I read that news because I have no doubt that my knees would have given way beneath me. This blatant DISREGARD for the value of life here in Barbados can only be termed as ridiculous. I have had the displeasure of watching relatives grieve over the death of a loved one who was expected to die. Can you imagine those relatives who receive the news that a mother or brother they might have left earlier that day was gunned down? Just the thought brings tears to my eyes.
Let us discuss the continued DISRESPECT we hear being meted out by our students to teachers. It is public knowledge that I hold teachers in a special place in my heart. One should not swear, but I cannot see myself as a teacher in our nation’s schools. I am not called to be a teacher. I do not believe I have those inherent skills necessary to mould and shape our nation’s youth on a daily basis, oppressed by the prevailing conditions in classrooms today. Those conditions speak not only to the physical structures but to the emotional and psychological state of our children.
By no stretch of the imagination is every youth bad or lacking in direction and purpose. As a matter of fact, the troublemakers seem to be in the minority, but their actions are enough to possibly derail our education system.
I am a firm believer in the aphorism “we reap what we sow”. As parents and guardians, we have sown a generation of uncorrected toddlers and liberalized pre-teens and we are reaping a generation of entitled young men and women who are seemingly unaware of the consequences of bad company and DISOBEDIENCE.
On the international news we listen with pious hearts as the scandals of children molested by priests are streamed across all types of devices. Do we need to go to Europe to get this sort of news? No! Whilst I am not aware of specific cases, our society is not bereft of this kind of DEPRAVED behaviour. There are children who are abused in our country. We see them on our streets begging for food; we hear them being lashed out of their skin just next-door to our own homes; they cannot concentrate in school because they are so hungry; we look at them and we can clearly see that they are not receiving the type of care to which they are entitled; the relevant ministries receive reports about children behaving in sexually explicit ways or being able to describe things I would not dare utter.
What can we do to stop this rapid moral and social DECLINE we are experiencing as a country? I believe it was Ras Shorty-I (forgive me, please, if I am not correct) that sang about “taking the Creator out…”, and I believe that a return to God as our guide, as is explicitly stated in our National Anthem, would be the first step.
As in previous articles, I issue the disclaimer that these few words penned here are my opinion and not those of anyone else. In the Bible, we read that the nation whose God is the Lord is a blessed nation. We seem to be at the end of our logic and reasoning, so perhaps we should try some faith.
But faith is just part of the solution. There must be action behind it. Starting from the smallest ones we should DETERMINE that our offspring will be productive citizens of the country. Perhaps if we change our thought process from child-rearing to adult-rearing, then we might see that we are not raising children but we are raising adults that we have to let loose on the world. We need to put into those little ones what we want to get out. If we want well-mannered, innovative, thoughtful and kind adults, then we must instil DISCLIPLINE, love, trust and age-appropriate freedom in our children.
I do not think we are beyond salvation as a country. Maybe we should still speak to an errant child DESPITE the onslaught of curse words that might reach our eardrums. We could also volunteer at a breakfast programme at a school while on vacation or as part of activities as retirees. Maybe retired teachers could start a reading programme for children challenged in that area.
David Joey Harper always said that love for children was spelled “T-I-M-E” and while money might not be freely flowing in our nation at this juncture in our history, we all still have the same 24 hours. Maybe someone could start a cooking class in their kitchen while doing pudding and souse on Saturdays, or teach a child how to prepare our national dish. Unfortunately, I cannot do either of those things so maybe I need to be taught!
The point is that once we are alive there is hope and we should never give up on our country and our fellow citizens. Every day, make it your business to encourage someone with whom you come into contact so that we pour goodness into our country. In time we will see the effects. In trying to discover your own purpose you bring others along so that they too can reach and fulfil their own DESTINIES.
(Rénee Boyce is a medical doctor, a wife, a mother and a Christian, who is committed to Barbados’ development. Email:email@example.com)