By Canon S Sebastian Campbell
"Ask not what your country can do for you, rather, ask what you can do for your country." - President John F Kennedy
Isn't it true that so many believe that the country and all her agencies owe them, and on demand they urge the settling of the perceived outstanding balance due them. Is it any wonder then that we've developed a culture of the "pointed finger". We constantly cast the blame. We wonder if in the unabated crime wave there is this attitude where criminal minds are seeking to settle "society's debt" to them and they will exact it at any expense.
Somehow we must get the message across that society owes us nothing; we owe all to society and it is out of our giving that we will receive. What can we give, how can we be a credit to our nation as we celebrate our 45th anniversary of nationhood? Let's advance five practical suggestion, where we as the average people can begin:
- Instil in our children the love of God and nation. The love command must be taught and given practical applications as the foundations of a Christian and humanising society - "Love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, body, mind and soul and to love your neighbour as you love yourself."
This is our country, given to us by God. In His infinite wisdom He has blessed us with its beauty and tranquility. The prophetic warning given to us some years ago of "Creolising" of our society should be taken seriously. The Bahamas is being daily overcome by a foreign culture and an attitude from which we are estranged. We must be honest rather than politically militant, or we will soon be outnumbered with names we can hardly pronounce and find ourselves culturally displaced in our own home and eventually governed by the same. To date, we are deeper in this foreign cultural invasion than we ought to be, and yes, it certainty has spin-offs that can threaten our national safety. We must pull our proverbial heads out of the political and sentimental sand. We must jealously guard our heritage and constantly seek ways to improve upon that which has been passed on to us, so that we might pass nothing less on to our children.
People are our most precious resource; we are mandated by God to be our brother's keeper. The golden rule, taught to us, must be the fundamental lesson and guiding principle we impart to our children and to which we must fight for daily: "Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you." The evil of selfishness must be eradicated. Blacks in our Bahamas will only win economic control when one happy day we shed the "black crab syndrome". It is sad when siblings can't even get together on simple business ventures. There is always suspicion and the belief we can get rich overnight. At one time we were able to disagreements and our good old-fashioned rows followed by sweet make-ups. But we've become so stupid that too many of us are proud in the valley of pride claiming, "I don't talk to this one and that one and the next one." We go nowhere until we begin affirming one another, while developing trust rather than standing off to better shoot one another down.
We must impart practical/marketable skills to our youth. In many instances Bahamians are unemployable because they lack practical skills and far too often foreign workers must be found to do that which we ought to be skilled to do. The education system should dictate that no one graduates unless they are well-rounded, both academically and vocationally. Agencies like the church, through her organisations, should be challenged to provide equipment of our people such as the teaching of musical skills, local art and craft and culinary skills seen in the making of fans, table mats, brooms, mops and the likes. We must know what it means to be Bahamian in our cooking. We've had enough of these foreign franchises. The real Bahamas is being greased away by American just foods. Bahamian culinary technicians must rescue us from this cultural invasion.
We must challenge illegitimate parents and fiercely uphold God's standard that it is wrong to bring children into this world outside of marriage. This demonic force has invaded our society, thus hampering society's growth, where children are brought (dragged) up outside the environment intended by God. We must bear in mind that there is a consequence for not doing things God's way. Is our current national dilemma God's judgement on us for straying from Him?
As a church we make a special appeal to use space presently available to us to begin develop learning development centres. We don't need to wait on fancy community centre. An appreciable number of our people are struggling with their literacy skills. This is true at all age levels, youth on up to adult. Many have problems reading, expressing themselves, others struggle with their maths while others need guidance and space to do home work. How can we respond? Here are some of the things we need:
Volunteers who can give at least two hours per week
Volunteers to assume leadership
Donations of text books, especially from those who might have recently graduated
Donations of encyclopaedias
As we celebrate our 45th Independence, please look in the mirror of your mind and ask, "Of what credit am I to my country."
Proud to be Bahamian!