We seem to be yet in another cycle of breast beating, tearing our hair, and bemoaning the youth of today, lack of morals in the society, lack of family life, etc. - all the ills that continue to assail us. One of the things that has certainly resonated with us, is that we/our young people seem to have a poor sense of self, poor self concept, value ourselves little, while we call out loudly for respect. Respect due! We feel strongly about that, and so we should. So we blame the past, our history, the present, all those who think differently, the music and media to which our young people are exposed.
Is there anything that might help to develop a positive self concept, a sense of self, helps us to understand why respect is due, and how to be that person who owns and earns respect? May I again suggest introducing our books to young children, and please listen to me this time. Our children are not stupid. If we insist on giving them a diet of foreign books only, until they reach secondary school and can start with the Caribbean set books for CXC, then what have we told them?
1. You are not important enough to have books about yourself or your life.
2. You need foreign books to teach you how to live, what to think about, who you are, or are not.
3. If you must use your imagination, imagine these foreign lives. Your imagination cannot be freely used in your life so that you can write about it. You are not worthy. You are not deserving of respect.
Aha, but the songs which we think are unsuitable for them, are heard, and those tell them what to think and how to feel even before they have got to that point in their lives.
And waiting to swallow them up is an enormous virtual world where they will finally find out that they are using other people’s imaginations because theirs is not worthy. But to navigate this virtual world safely, the world of the future and present, we all need to have our values and self respect, and everything else in place.
The Ministry of Education has some beautiful books in Literacy 1-2-3, Windows to Literacy. Outstanding writers wrote these books, some of them bright and young, our next generation of writers; outstanding illustrators illustrated these books; some of them bright and young, the next generation of illustrators. The Ministry plans to roll them out into schools. Prep. schools also would like to have access to them. I hope that there won’t be a problem of the money to do this, when so many other things require money urgently. Hey guys, we’ve been playing that tune (pardon the pun) for too many years, and so we have already lost a generation. It’s not measurable, but let’s give it a try. Can we afford not to? Let our children discover that they are worthy of respect. Nuff respect! Can we just believe in ourselves a little bit? We can do a lot of things, and you know what? We can do books too. So little darlings, don't be afraid.