Sat | Jan 29, 2022

Hello Mi Neighbour | Burying hatchets and building bridges

Published:Wednesday | April 10, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Hello, mi neighbour! Please explain: How can one lover/spouse/friend look at the other, say some of the meanest things to him/her, then turn around and say, “Mi never mean it,” and expect the other to say, “That’s okay, I understand,” and it’s business as usual?

To go a step further, if the victim disapproves of that outrageous behaviour of the offender, he/she is seen as unreasonable and not understanding of human nature. As you prepare your response, let me move on.

I suppose it’s the unreasonableness of people that is causing so many broken relationships on the one hand and causing so many to opt for surface relationships on the other. And don’t even mention marriage to some of them. They are afraid of the disrespect and torture for which this bond (badly managed) is noted. Couples in a state of anger do torture each other mentally, physically, emotionally and even financially. Left unchecked, one may end up on the gallows and the other in the grave. Of course, one could end up in the ‘madhouse’ and the other in the ‘workhouse’. So sad.

By now, we know that relational well-being is dependent on how quickly differences are ironed out between parties (always have your ‘hot iron’ ready). And it is not as difficult as one may think. Just take deep interest in the welfare and happiness of the other. This is achievable by endeavouring to walk in the next person’s shoes. Through the imagination, we can feel/understand what others are feeling. I’ll explain below.

About 99.9 per cent of humankind knows what embarrassment feels like. They know what it feels like to be insulted or disrespected. This is the kind of feeling that often leads to fights, and even murder. The excuse of an ex-convict who served a long prison term for murder was, “A bway disrespek mi madda.” So deeply was he hurt that he lost control and committed the crime.

If that offender had used his imagination and acted differently, maybe he would have been alive today and even reading this column. It may sound unrealistic, but he only needed to have placed himself in the other man’s situation and have seen how it would have felt if the other man had disrespected his mother. Yes.

One would argue, though, that the offender knew that his action would have evoked negative emotions in the other party and that that was his intention. Good point. And that’s the problem. Foolish actions like these only lead to much pain and suffering. Our refusal or failure to use the tools with which we have been equipped to foster peace and engender love and harmony in our homes and communities is costing us dearly.

This is what ‘old-time’ people called ‘cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face’: a needless, self-destructive overreaction to a problem. In pursuit of revenge for a simple misdemeanour that could have been easily overlooked or resolved amicably, a whole family or community is destroyed.

Neighbours, whenever self-control is on display, strength is at the controls, but whenever we seek to offend others just to make a point, weakness is in the ascendancy. Who/what controls you? Before making that decision to offend someone, just use your imagination. It can provide the wisdom needed to save the day and more.


- Phil’s friends for assisting Bro Moses with food and a neighbour in St Andrew with zinc.

- Neighbour, St Andrew, for willingness to assist another neighbour in St Mary with food.

- Mr Fong for an act of kindness.


- Young man asking for a shear for barbering.

- Fourteen-year-old Sabrina in St Elizabeth is asking for help, on behalf of her mother and five young siblings, to construct a little home.

- Neighbour in St Catherine needs a sewing machine.

- Miss Ruby, St Andrew, senior citizen, needs a radio.

To help, please call Silton Townsend @ 334-8165 or 884-3866, or deposit to acct #351 044 276, NCB. Alternatively, send donations to HELLO NEIGHBOUR c/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10. Paypal/credit card email: Contact email: Visit Mr Townsend exclusively manages the collections and distributions mentioned in this column and is neither an employee nor agent of The Gleaner.