BAHAMIANS must assume individual and joint responsibility for the positive development of their relatives if the destructive trends harming the country are to be reversed, Minister of Social Services and Community Development Melanie Griffin said.
“The family structure is where children learn principles and morality. It is where children learn about rules and regulations so that when they become adults, they will already know that they must follow the rules and regulations and laws of the country within which they reside for us to have a successful society,” Mrs Griffin said.
“The family structure is where they learn right from wrong. We have to continue to fight for the family structure in our country.
“We have got to continue to fight for better fathers and mothers and children, aunts and uncles, et cetera. Evil flourishes where good men (and women) do nothing. We cannot afford to let the devil and sin take over our families and out country.”
Addressing an International Day of the Families workshop hosted by the Community Affairs Division of the Department of Social Services, in conjunction with the Bahamas Crisis Centre, Mrs Griffin said families can no longer “send their members/children out into the community where they are taught all of the wrong things”.
“Families must be responsible for themselves and their children. The wise, elderly persons in our communities always say charity begins at home. Well they are right. In the Bahamas, we need to join forces as families in our communities, giving help, hope and healing to each other despite the stresses of life,” Mrs Griffin said.
Held at the Holy Cross Anglican Church Parish Hall, the workshop was held as part of the activities celebrating “International Day of the Families.”
Speakers at the workshop included child psychologist Dr Novia Carter-Higgs (Parenting in the New Millennium); Dr Annalease Richards (Caught in the Middle); Dr Barrington Brennen a family and marriage therapist (Relationships); Senior Welfare Officer Cheryl Carroll (Disciplining Children) and Pamela Thurston, a parent who spoke on the topic: “Perspective on the Family.”
Mrs Griffin said one of the primary aims of her ministry is to strengthen families and communities by helping professionals and students to become “well-educated” on family issues.
She said the workshop helped them accomplish that goal.
“We chose this month as an opportunity to get involved in a national effort that will help express appreciation to the special people in a family’s life – whether it be a mother, father, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, cousin or any other person who is like a family member – all with a view to bringing further attention to the importance of the family and the family structure,” Mrs Griffin said.
She said the Community Affairs Division assists in co-ordinating a number of programmes that help to promote and strengthen the family throughout the year.
“The family constitutes the basic unit of society and should assume their responsibilities within the community.
“Therefore, we encourage every family to participate in activities that will get them involved in sharing special times together, develop or renew relationships, identify or rediscover each other’s needs, and remind themselves of the importance of family involvement which leads to raising healthy children who can later become our future leaders.
“Loving and uniting together in communities will help fight violence and combat social ills. When we all stand for positive values together, it will help to bring community togetherness and eventually build a better nation,” Mrs Griffin said.