Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Protect our children!

Published:Saturday | November 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston

I believe the children are our future

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier

Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be

- George Benson

For the last few weeks, Jamaica has been rocked with news of children being brutally killed and other heinous acts committed against them.

Evangelist Errol Rattray, founder of Operation Hope and head of the Evangelistic Association wants families and the rest of society to unite and start protecting the children.

For Rattray, in this a month that is being celebrated as Parent Month, it is a fitting time to appeal to those who are charged with responsibilities for their children. The appeal is also made to the society as an extended family.

Reminding that children are important to the fibre of society and they are not too young to play important roles, he drew on the biblical example of Jesus Christ beginning his ministry at the age of 12, confounding lawyers and showing impressive leadership even at that stage.

The time, he said, has come for parents to step up to the plate and be more vigilant about the care and protection of their children.

"What better place to start than this the month being celebrated for parents?" he quizzed.

The days when children are being silenced and most times 'put in their corners' are over, pointed out Rattray.

"Some adults are holding on to the old adage that children should be seen and not heard," he said, adding that from biblical days that has been a no, no.

"Jesus disciples tried to do the same, shunning them, but Jesus himself rebuked them and told them to allow the children to come to Him," points out Rattray.

He said it hurts his heart that so many violent crimes are committed against the children, pointing out that it is time for parents and all the 'villages' in Jamaica to start taking a proactive approach in protecting the country's greatest assets.

"A child today is tomorrow's adults. They are always watching and looking at our leaders and children can influence changes and decisions of their parents," he said.

"When you take away the future of what a child becomes, it hurts the community, it cause pain and hurt to the society and it will eventually hurt the entire country," he opined.

Rattray's message to the heartless ones is a plea for them to allow children to live out their true potential.

He is also reaching out to parents who are also a part of the problem. As for him, children are at risk in their homes a lot more than on the streets.

He stressed that many run away because of adverse conditions at home, exposing themselves to even greater risks.

"We take away their future when we abuse them and they have scars and some come out with hatred and need for revenge. Their future is also taken away by molestation, being misunderstood and allowing them to feel less than they are," said Rattray.

The evangelist is warning against the 'nine day wonder' of emotions running high when something horrible happens to our children and then it's back to business as usual.

"The fight and zeal must be ongoing.