Editorial: The revolution begins with you
While the new year is generally seen as a time of renewal and rebirth, the Yuletide season is also a time of contemplation on the things of greatest importance, offering us a chance to take a different, more noble path.
Tradition often dictates that we have big family gatherings, fantastic feasts and drown a year of crests and troughs in liquor to warm the heart. But there is more that Jamaicans can do to effect meaningful change for their peers and for the greater national good.
Jamaicans must use the Christmas message, a narrative of the sacrificing of heavenly glory for earthly modesty, to fulfil a deeper commitment to the improvement of the lot of others.
Christmas, though primarily focused on the birth of the Christ Child and the sanctity and simplicity of the Nativity scene, is a reminder of the terminus of Jesus’ journey at the cruel cross and the biblical promises of revival.
VOLUNTEERISM DRIVEN BY COMPASSION
The charity of which we speak so glibly at Christmas time should be so internalised as to inspire a wider revolution of volunteerism, driven by a compassion not merely to weep at, or pray about, the circumstances of the poor, the downtrodden, the distraught, but to offer succour in tangible and time-tested means. The philosophy of giving demands action.
For example, the National Blood Transfusion Service, better known as the Blood Bank, routinely begs for donations of the life-giving fluid to sustain patients undergoing elective surgery or others who require emergency operations in the wake of auto crashes or acts of violence. Jamaicans should embrace the opportunity of giving blood regularly to the Blood Bank or any of its collection centres at several hospitals islandwide.
Perhaps, our schools could be co-opted in the rekindling of a nationwide spirit of commitment to community beyond the shackles of obligation or duty or mandate. Volunteerism could be more directly integrated in school curricula from the early-childhood to the tertiary level which would have the twofold effect of tying such activity into a more holistic assessment of student achievement but, more important, engendering concern for others that could extend well into adulthood.
Also, schools often organise field trips to zoos, parks, beaches and entertainment spots right throughout the year. A creative means of offering children adventure or an escape from the drudgery of the classroom might centre around involving students in altruistic engagements with children with mild or severe disabilities, residents of infirmaries, or others in need.
Such opportunities to touch the lives of others will redound to the grooming of more considerate and caring citizens, who will be respectful of the challenges of the less fortunate and responsive to their circumstances.
While we concede that the State has a constitutional responsibility to provide security and welfare for those on the margins of society, the community every single one of us has a moral mandate to do likewise.