'Don't defile your souls' - Hanna to youngsters
Imagine receiving a young cherry tree in a Berger paint tin as a gift. Intended as a lesson in horticulture, one would imagine, but for Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna, it was a lesson in life.
It was a gift she received from her father following her success at the Common Entrance exams, she said as she shared her story with children of Riverton Meadows in western St Andrew during a Children's Day service at the Riverton Meadows Seventh-day Adventist Church on Saturday, underscoring the importance of character and deportment.
From caring for the cherry tree, she learned the value of responsibility and independence, the minister explained, and urged the children of Riverton to focus more on developing character rather than acquiring material things.
"My father gave me a cherry tree when I was your age, and it still stands today. Whatever the Adventist Church plants in your life, let it remain with you for the rest of your life," she charged the youngsters as she quoted passages from the prophetess Ellen G. White's book, Messages to Young People, on good dress and deportment.
"The way the church has taught you to dress, this is the way the country would like to see you carry yourself as young people. Not only for church, but when you go for a job interview, when you go to the bus stop and when you go to after-school events," she said, expressing displeasure with the breakdown in values across the society.
"Sometimes I'm shocked at what I see people wearing in the church when they come to funerals," she expressed.
"Our dress should be cleanly. Uncleanliness in dress is unhealthful, and thus defiling to the body and the soul," she quoted Ellen G. White.
"Your body won't get you anywhere, it's your character," Hanna emphasised.