Prayer alone will solve nothing!
By Adalyn Leonce
We live today in exciting times with great possibilities for good. These are fearful times with grave potential for destruction. And while some say “there is enough in this world for every man’s needs, it is also true that there is “not enough for every man’s greed”.
In St Lucia we seem to be on the path of destruction with no return to peace, safety and tranquility. So often we hear via the electronic and print media that no one can solve crime in St Lucia and it seems we have given up hope.
There are many things government, churches and regular people can do to stem anti-social behavior, but such are not given priority. Take for instance the art of parenting the most basic and important aspect of our lives. Few, if any, opportunities are offered to parents to study this vital subject. People are trained in every field of endeavor. They acquire degrees, but never in the area of parenting. It is left to experimentation and what was handed down to us by the older generations. I must note an exception: there is a new program on parenting hosted by Mike and Rose Aubertin on Radio St Lucia. They must be commended for their effort.
Effective parenting is the key to solving many problems confronting the society today. The Fathers and Mothers groups organized all over the island some years ago, were excellent avenues for teaching the art of parenting and other social issues. With the retirement of Mr Gregor Biscette, principal of the Micoud Primary School and Mr Michael Toussaint, principal of the Babonneau Primary School, who co-coordinated much of the Fathers and Mothers groups activities, and lack of funding for the St Lucia Save The Children Fund, who sponsored programs to assist those very vulnerable and important groups in the communities, they were left to survive on their own with no direction and support.
We hear of very large sums of money given by government and the private sector, for staging the festivities of carnival and jazz. These two events bring visitors to our shores and they spend money during their stay. For instance, in July 2006 for carnival, 3,475 visitors came to our island and they spent close to $10 million. Carnival is known for its revelry, pageantry, tension management and a time for togetherness of all social classes. However, with the trend today in our beautiful island, we might not be able to enjoy carnival, jazz or any other social events much longer, if the social problems facing us are not addressed. We might soon have terrorists in our midst. We already have bomb scares and gang-related violence. The reality of our social unrest in our society points to our teenagers. One unstable youth can cripple our economy, which depends predominantly on tourism.
If we want to live in a happy, free and safe environment, government, churches, private sector and individuals must start funding projects and programs that tackle the root causes of crime: Parenting, Family Life, Day Care/Pre-schools, and Rehabilitation programs for the youth.
Take for example the Day Care/Pre-school centres, where children are molded from six months to five years in those institutions. It is a fact that a child is set for life by the age of five years. Early childhood education is, therefore, extremely important.
It would be a real revolution in St Lucia if serious social problems are given priority and equal funding as carnival and jazz festivals. Economic advancement without people development will have major serious negative effects.
I am aware that the Parent Teachers Association of the Kiddies Homey Day Care has been soliciting funds at the same time as the carnival and jazz festival committees, to renovate the Anse La Raye Multi-purpose Centre, the first to be established 25 years ago by the St Lucia Save The Children Fund to house a day care and other programs. The idea was so practical and creative that the government of the day between 1983 and1996 built eight centres in various communities.
In 1997-2006 the government built four but renamed them Human Resource Development Centres. The response for assistance by the Anse La Raye Association to various funding institutions was either no response or that they could not assist. Last year government gave $2,000 towards the renovation of the building and the firm Brawo this year gave fifteen sheets of plywood.
The expected outcomes of day care/pre-school: Children receive a basic foundation to succeed in life; mothers are given an opportunity to work for family support; children adjust easier to higher education; assists in long term solution in curbing crime; education of parents in the art of parenting and other social issues. In Castries alone this year $70,000 was spent to sponsor seven contestants. Would that amount have been better spent on a day-care center, for instance?
Investing in the people of St Lucia makes the island less threatening and a safer place, where we can all live together in peace, unity, love, sharing and respect for one another. We often hear that prayer is the answer to all our problems. While prayer is wonderful, prayers alone will not solve the problems that confront us in our communities. We must refrain from the mistake of leaving God in the Church what we are capable of doing for ourselves with God’s will. We must bring Him out in our homes, workplaces and our communities. As I heard a Pastor say “Get up so God can get you out”.
Adalyn Leonce is the Former Director Executive Secretary for St Lucia Save The Children Fund