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‘Honesty’ a gem

I don’t think there will ever be an era where the older generation wouldn’t complain about the youth and vice versa. That’s just how it is. Each generation sticks up for their era while voicing why they think theirs is superior.

While I believe that at the core of all of this is pride in the way things were and are done, it is usually good to hear any group sticking up for values and morals, especially young people. I specifically say young people because I know that regardless of era, they will always test the waters not only to see how far they would be allowed to go, but in everything they do they seem to be on a search for their identity.

However, I was really touched and inspired last week when I heard the song Respect de Disabled and realised that it was being sung by an 18 year old young lady whose stage name was Honesty, and who was the daughter of a beautiful lady who has a mental disability.

I had never heard of her before as I don’t usually follow that particular competition, however I was intrigued when I heard that she was going to be a guest on Festival Stage and so therefore sat and eagerly waited to hear what she had to say.

First of all, she spoke like someone who was times older than her actual age. She was very well-spoken and also spoke with great clarity and understanding when questions were posed to her. She spoke of being an aware child at a very early age — which was evident — and she only began to understand that her mum was different from the other mums around the time she was a pre-teen.

Although she has had challenges, she remained focussed on her goals and has already mapped out what she wants to do at least in the immediate future with her life.

What struck me most is the deep respect and love she has for her mother and how she managed to sing the song which at one time was backed up with the beautiful voices of some other members of our disabled community, while putting all her energy into a song which not only dealt with issues related to the disabled, but won the hearts of her audience including the judges.

So often we hear about parents who still hide or are ashamed of their disabled children, but we don’t often hear of the other side. It is very natural to be ashamed of what friends would say and how society in general would treat you, even adults who should know better, however when you can get on a stage and sing a song which really pays tribute not only to a community but to your mother as well, it says a lot about the character of a human being.

I don’t know of her history or her life but when you expose who you are with conviction and when you do so convincingly, it also says a lot about the upbringing you received.

You see, not only did it say a lot about her, it said volumes about her mum. So often we aren’t exposed to those in the disabled community who raise children. Sometimes they receive support but in many instances they are raising them the best way they know how and doing a wonderful job at it. We award and highlight many things in our society, but this is something which many times go unnoticed because the disabled are often forgotten.

While one may argue that being a parent is rewarding in itself and doesn’t need any photo ops or acknowledgements, we still give kudos to persons who do very little in comparison to those who have challenges but yet successfully raise their children despite the odds.

I want to congratulate Charice Honesty Walrond because she not only gave a sterling performance, but won the competition. I think the icing on the cake was when her mother came on stage at the end of the song. Very touching!

But what can we learn from all of this? Firstly, we can’t paint everyone with the same brush. I know we say we don’t but our default response is always to go with what we either think, know, experience or have been told to believe. Not all young people are the same. Actually no two of us are alike. We’re all different and respond differently to various scenarios.

Secondly, we need to know that there are disabled parents out there struggling and fighting under various circumstances to raise their children and sometimes trying to prove that they are definitely worthy to be called by the word “parent”.

Finally, I believe that when we have done well as a parent, our children in some way acknowledge us. Maybe not in the way Charice did, but they acknowledge nonetheless.

These are tough times to be raising our children and we really need all the help we can get. However I believe that when we produce children who are well-mannered, respectful and making a valuable contribution to society, then we have done well.

Charice, your mum is proud of you, and so are we. Well done mum!

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