Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
SEVENTH-DAY Adventist pastor Reverend Charles Brevitt has said Jamaica is suffering from a critical breakdown in parenting, which has resulted in the unleashing of a crude, course and lewd generation on the nation.
"We see a crisis of diminishing of national and civic pride; when knives, ice picks, Rizzla, condoms, birth control devices and drugs become a part of the regular school paraphernalia as textbooks and geometry sets, T-squares and writing implements," said Reverend Brevitt.
The pastor, who was delivering the keynote address on behalf of Custos Rotulorum of St James Ewen Corrodus at the installation ceremony for new Jamaica Teachers' Association's (JTA) president Clayton Hall at the Ritz Carlton Resort and Spa on Monday night, said the nation is in trouble.
"We are cultivating a lewd, coarse and rude breed," Reverend Brevitt said, while noting that technology has also contributed to the decline in standards.
"Technology and modernisation have left society bereft of the second line of defence against the challenges," the pastor said. "The postmistresses, district constables, pastors, retired teachers and police officers, grandparents, and patriarchs who held the reigns of governance and kept the culture alive, are now seen as relics of the past."
Reverend Brevitt said the new "crude, coarse and lewd" generation is now posing a new challenge to teachers and their bid for good order.
"There is no etiquette, no manners or courtesy ... our taste for the fineries has given way to an uncouth way of life where clothes are no longer required in public," said Reverend Brevitt. "We greet each other as dogs ... teacher must function outside the box ... my hope is for the forging of an urgent synergy between JTA and the Jamaica Independent Schools Association."
In noting that the teacher role should expand beyond the classroom, Reverend Brevitt said educators must become scouts and spot those who need remedial actions and intervention in the areas of attitude, ambition and homework/study deficiency.
"We must expand beyond the test scores ... children can be book bright, but incapable of handling sexuality, book bright, but lacking in integrity and common decency - sex clubs on buses in uniform ... book bright, but violent and ill-mannered," the pastor said.
Reverend Brevitt also suggested that teachers could use one evening to teach parents some of the skills they need to function effectively as a part of the society.
Pastor Charles Brevitt, president of the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, holds up the Travelling Bible during the "Follow the Bible" campaign held in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay on Friday. The campaign is an initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists designed to renew commitment to Bible-reading worldwide. Its focus is on the Travelling Bible which contains text written in 66 languages and is traveling the world over a two-year period, October 2008 - June 2010.