Mon | Jan 30, 2023

Editorial | A home for Christmas

Published:Saturday | November 26, 2022 | 12:14 AM

In these difficult times when conversations inevitably come around to murders, corruption in high places, carnage on the roads, scamming and other criminal activities, kindness and compassion appear to be in short supply in Jamaica.

However, there is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that this is not necessarily so. We are referring to the ‘Take a Child Home for Christmas’ programme, which was launched more than a decade ago by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA). Christmas has the potential to bring out the best in people, and this is the perfect time to pause and think how you personally want to celebrate the season.

COVID-19 put a damper on the programme in the last two years, but, for this year, the CPFSA is making a determined festive push to gain islandwide support for its initiative, which would see families taking in wards of the State to spend time in their homes for a day or for longer periods.

Knowing the potential for programmes, such as these to attract undesirables, it is commendable that the CPFSA ensures that prospective hosts are vetted and premises inspected, and the application has to be signed by a justice of the peace. These are important steps in protecting these children from would-be predators.

Christmas is a special time of year, one that embodies the spirit of generosity. It’s a time for family and friends to get together. Food and drink play a huge part, and there is also the ritual of giving and receiving gifts and making jolly memories.

Unfortunately, there are people in our communities who do not have loving and caring families. Christmas is likely to be a lonely time for a child in state care, having to share whatever limited resources with 40 other wards. Sadly, they are deprived of the nurturing environment which children deserve to grow to their full potential. Reaching out with kindness to those who are less fortunate is one way to help restore hope and faith in humanity.

For many people, this has been a difficult year. Yet, others have had to deal with crises of one sort or another and they have been pushed towards depression. We submit that society has a responsibility to support those who are in need, those who are unloved and uncared for.

Going forward into 2023, there is every indication that familiar stressors such as COVID-19, the energy crisis, violence, wars, and mental challenges will all be around, and they will be competing for our attention.

Technology has made life way more efficient but, in other ways, it has been the bane of our existence. Many people who ride the waves of social media are unkind and abusive to others. They either don’t understand or don’t care about the impact their actions could have on other people. For far too many times, social media ‘likes’ overshadow the need for compassion and help. The question is: What will it take for kindness to be less random and become more of a way of life?

We believe people have to make a conscious decision to be kind. This applies to the way we interact with each other, especially when we are on the road. One of the most profoundly compassionate ways in which we can celebrate Christmas is to perform random acts of kindness as a way to build a less hateful and dangerous society.