PASTOR Carlos Reid speaking at yesterday’s symposium. Photo: Moise Amisial
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
“YOU can be anything you want to be” was one of the key messages delivered to troubled students during a symposium held at the Hope Centre yesterday.
The symposium, hosted by the Ministry of National Security under the theme “Make it Make Sense”, brought together some of the most “influential ringleaders” from junior high schools throughout New Providence.
It is one of many initiatives planned by the ministry to help students deal with anger management, conflict resolution and choice management.
During yesterday’s forum, students heard stories of life regrets and the harsh realities of prison life from inmates at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDCS).
But while there were cautions about the dangers of violence and bad decision making, there were also words of encouragement.
“All we have to do is change our thinking,” said Ronald Simmons, who has been in prison for more than two decades.
“When we change our thinking, it changes our actions and when we change our actions, it changes the consequences of our actions. Now, some of y’all may say that I don’t know ya’ll experience or I don’t know what your goals are.
“I don’t, but we cannot justify because you had a hard life, you grew up in a tough environment, it was difficult in a way or because you were abused, because you was deluded in your mind, because you’re following the wrong person — that can’t justify your negative actions.
“You have to look through the delusion of thug life. Thug life is actually hard life. That’s jail life. You have to look through, you have to look at the persons that you’re following (and) if the person that you’re following, the guy on the block and he’s going to jail, where do you think you’re going to end up?” he asked.
He also posed this question to students: “Is that what you want for you? Do you want jail for your life? Do you want an early death for your life?”
A resounding “no” was the response from most students in the room.
Simmons also noted the success stories of many youngsters who experienced similar struggles in life, yet overcame them.
“There’s many men who have been in your position and who had a hard life and had a hard environment, had it tough but they overcame. Even if you have been abused, if you have a lot of hate or pain in your life, you are able to overcome it, but you just have to let it go.”
He also urged them to focus on their schoolwork.
Pastor Carlos Reid, consultant in the ministry, also told students that greatness lived inside each of them and challenged them to live up to their full potential.