Our only option is co-operation
As the holiday atmosphere begins to fade, with a new year about to unfold and the reality of the many unresolved problems both here in Bermuda and around the world, the issue of whether the world is moving in the right direction is an ever-present concern.
Despite a somewhat gloomy assessment about life on Earth today, there is room for encouragement, as good people who don’t always make headlines provide much needed hope for a better world.
These are people from all walks of life and diverse cultures who believe that no matter what problems we face in our daily challenges, as long as we are willing to be respectful and honest in how we treat one another, our communities could grow stronger, which would benefit the next generation.
Of course, in this area there is much work to be done, since recent decades have shown that the family structure has weakened throughout much of the world. And when that happens, the base for a healthy society is threatened.
The family remains the key learning centre for values that promote harmony, respect and an understanding of how important discipline is in the experience of testing moments of anger and out-of-control emotions, which often produce results that may not be easy to repair.
That is a challenge that just about everyone is confronted with at some stage along the often bumpy road of life. It usually boils down to what values are taught in making decisions that can prove the difference between right and wrong.
Over the holiday period in the United States, a number of shopping malls had to be evacuated as a result of unruly behaviour by a number of young people, with one incident inviting confusion over whether or not a shot had been fired.
The incidents involving young people fighting prompted one CNN anchor personality to ask where were the parents? That question will not be easily answered because of changing patterns in how children are raised today, and the shifting lifestyles with the gap widening between parent child relations.
Although many reasons are given by various commentators for this disturbing trend, which include economic conditions as some parents or guardians are pressed with two or three jobs to make ends meet. With less time to focus on values and with the peer pressure syndrome facing most young people, the vulnerable could fall prey to negative elements that, undetected, explode without warning.
It is too late at that stage to say: ”I don’t know what is wrong with that child.”
When children for whatever reason are deprived of solid values and rules about positive living, it is society that begins to crumble one child at a time. We often hear of animals in Africa facing extinction, but we may give thought to whether the family structure as we once knew it is heading for a similar fate. Let us hope that is not the case.
In Bermuda, we have the opportunity to address many problems that affect the quality of family life, and much will depend on whether we are able to develop a spirit of co-operation that breaks through the deeply rooted divisiveness, largely politically based, which prevents a closer collective look at how we should approach sensitive issues.
Neither the One Bermuda Alliance government or the Progressive Labour Party are in possession of all the answers. In a sense, it is similar to a large canoe with those on one side paddling to go forward, while those on the other side are paddling to reverse direction. We all know what a calamity that can create. The solution there would be to pause and rethink how to best to use their energy, in a co-operative spirit, which would keep them all moving towards a more positive mode.
As Bermuda braces itself for what should be a successful year, despite many challenges, all of our leaders should be sent a clear message: that they should lead by example and think very carefully before uttering statements that hold the potential to incite those who simply want a reason to cause disruption in our social and business infrastructures.
All those in responsible positions should discourage any type of conduct that further corrodes standards most Bermudians expect from good leadership. We all know disagreements over this and that will always be a part of life, but more importantly, we need to remember that being respectful towards each other will enhance a better understanding towards reaching a common ground for exchanging views.
That is more easier said than done, but if we really want success, our only option is co-operation. That should be the central theme as we prepare for new challenges in the new year.
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