Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Let’s try looking out for each other

 Many adults who would have borne  and raised children have  lived long enough to be part of the lives of their grandchildren, great grandchildren and sometimes even their great, great grandchildren, before they themselves would have passed on. 

When one views the Express obituaries columns, it is quite interesting how many of these citizens lived well into their seventies, eighties,  nineties, and some even became centenarians. Some were prominent citizens, others maybe not prominent, but were nevertheless the cornerstone of many families. They were the foundation from which thousands of our citizens were able to contribute to the development of ever so many institutions of our society.

Even when these elders passed on, their families would have felt a certain pride in their longevity, their stories of the good old days, their trials and tribulations, their contributions to family life, their labours, loves, hard work, discipline, sacrifice, good advice and their challenges through the good and the bad times. Most of all was the pride which they would have felt in the achievements of their children. There are still thousands of our citizens who fall into these age groups, and who remain active and are still making contributions in ways they choose to so do, including those centenarians who were recently featured in the news media.  

Some of these elders would have said that children are not supposed to die before their parents. Unfortunately, this does not seem to reflect our present reality. Yes, there are illnesses, accidents etc. but when one notes the number of young men and some young women, some still in their teens, who are dying through violence and recklessness, clearly, it would appear, that unlike the old-time days, many children are dying and seem likely to die before their parents. 

One may well ask, how did we get there. Good parenting used to and still does beget well rounded citizens; poor parenting or the virtual absence of parenting, begets the phenomenon that plagues our society today, murderous individuals, filled with hurt, hate, and the loss of hope. We are fully aware that a child-mother or child-father does not necessarily translate into a parent, especially when the grandmother or grandfather are themselves still relatively young. 

None other than the community knows what transpires on a day-to-day basis. They are the ones whose structured input, via PTAs, social, cultural, religious, sporting and other such groups will help us address the myriad challenges communities face today. Maybe we need to recall the cry of one of our bards not so long ago when he begged us to bring back them old time days, bring back them old time ways. 

We cannot bring back those days, but let’s try to bring back the ways in our communities when we all looked out for each other, notwithstanding the modern challenges, good and bad.

Stephen Ifill

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