THE CRIES ARE LOUD AND CLEAR. The actions are blatant and unmistakable; scams, fraud, drugs, illicit sex and murder. They are all beginning to define our land today.
Where have we gone wrong and can this country be saved? From young, Barbadian children are taught the importance of home, school and church to the quality of our lives. They are still crucial in providing the solution to these and other unfolding challenges.
The home should be relied upon for the fulfilment of the hierarchy of needs. From birth as the bonds build between parent (both mother and father) and child, comfort and trust are developed. It is during this stage that children establish a keen sense of security and self-worth.
Confidence and self-appreciation grow and so do self-respect and the willingness to see things from different perspectives.
The home nourishes individuals through the provision of shelter, food and clothing having them well prepared to present themselves in an open and positive manner. The home is the point of reference for children of all ages; babe, toddler and teenager. Indeed, the home never really becomes insignificant in anyone’s life.
All children are born with intelligence genes.
The level of nourishing from the home hones them in various ways to be further developed by the school. This is the place where the social being is fashioned and training for future environments is coordinated. Exposure to and interaction with the soft and hard skills of social development prepare the young impressionable ones for the world of challenge.
It is the school where we force ourselves to make correct decisions between the personal wants and the educational needs.
It is the school where we learn the art of sacrifice knowing that what is not achieved today can be earned tomorrow in a much more satisfying manner. It is the school where we learn to win some battles and lose some, because compromise and respect are realised to be crucial to happiness and stability.
It is the school where opportunities are provided for unearthing, understanding and expressing talents of all types. Here, we learn that though persons are different and may have more or less ability in one area or another, they are all of great worth. This becomes clear when we see the academic shining, the athlete winning, the artist projecting or the cultural exponent performing. Hence, the appreciation of self grows into respect for others.
It has often been said that there are more churches per capita in Barbados than in any other country in the world. When I speak of church I speak of all places of spiritual fulfilment.
The place of worship gives solace and reconfirms values and principles that were first presented in our early lives. It is here that we are taught the defining difference between a thought process that is based on good and bad and one that is based on right and wrong. These present two different character manifestations.
This difference can be expressed to children by way of the five-dollar question. If you have no money and no lunch but coincidentally see five dollars drop from the pocket of a fellow student who is unaware of what happened, you pick it up, what do you do? Your answer, if it is that you would do what is good for you by seizing the opportunity to alleviate problems or doing what is right and principled accepting that the money is not yours and giving it to its rightful owner defines who and what you are.
In contemporary society where we are stretched to the maximum to address negative behaviours and actions, we need to properly utilise the three pillars of home, school and church. Unfortunately, we seem to lack the strength at policy level to establish the structure for this to happen. Hence, there is failure at each level. We insist that the home maintains responsibility until we are 18, so children can’t vote until then. Parents must also be held accountable for upholding good standards.
We insist that the school exercises its rights until children are 16 and attendance officers are employed to enforce this. We must also be vigilant in making sure that persons don’t only work hard, but effectively. Accountability for positive outcomes must be enforced. The place of spiritual grounding and values inculcation is, unfortunately, left as optional. Please policymakers, insist on such attendance being mandatory for all children, at least until age 12.
Our country is in need and is pleading for this much-needed support.
Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as a vice president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: email@example.com