For the love of brother and country
The New Year is approaching –– much faster than normal –– and already some of us are making our New Year’s resolutions; mapping out our goals for 2014. Maybe next year we will eat better and on time, or exercise more.
Maybe we will devote extra time to our little side business. Or maybe we will have absolutely no choice but to give full attention then to that side business –– as a self-employer.
It isn’t that we are dissing the peace and cheer of Christmas, or won’t seek out the season’s tranquility. It’s just that we have much of the New Year on our minds –– well, definitely our Public Service workers: a random 3,500 of them, so to speak.
For them, New Year planning won’t be the conventional and repetitive commitment to something new, or to a rehashed resolution, which when the year starts, we are gung-ho about until January 5 and then we quietly push aside and slink back into our comfort zone –– into the routine of living the same way as we always did.
Chances are it won’t be the same for all of us. For whatever fortune overtakes the possibly jobless 3,000 between January 1 and March 15 next year will impact everyone of us in some way. Some of us will take on the role of the good Samaritan. We will be mandated to give meaning and credence to the Christian concept of being our neighbour’s brother.
So, what will be the good deed of each of us of the still working brigade, come the New Year?
Maybe you have heard of read that old fairy tale of Princess April Morning-Glory with its formal but whimsical storyline.
The question of the story is: what kind of a world would you create, if you had to do three good deeds to make it back home –– or help someone else to? In Letitia Fairbanks’s charming fairy tale, the princess makes the fateful decision to step outside her cloistered existence in a paradise called Fairyland to face the outside world and all its temptations. Once outside The Enchanted Forest, the princess longs to return home, but she is told by a benevolent wizard that she must first do three good deeds.
Princess April takes his wise counsel and begins her journey home, performing three good deeds, peerless in the annals of fairy tales. But, not without being tempted along the way by the wicked fairy Misery with the promise of riches and fabulous fairy wings if she remains in the outside world and does Misery’s bidding. Vanity wouldn’t cut it!
The children’s story’s overall message of consciously and selflessly carrying out three good deeds daily is not so unrelated to today’s world and circumstances. It could just be the remedy for the would-be “gimme, gimme”, “wuh in it fuh me?”, “dah is dem bidness” and “I ain’ care” subculture.
Imagine if we could extend the best of the traditional “Bajan Christmas feeling” into the New Year –– and through all of next year –– if everyone of us started out our day with a desire to find three different ways to help others, without expecting anything in return! Oh, what a kinder, gentler, caring Barbados we would find ourselves in –– again, some might say.
We get the impression the Barbados Workers Union and the other workers’ organizations may be on such a path of consultation, restitution, rebuilding and restoration for those who may be affected by layoffs; and that for them comradeship, peer support and those three daily deeds are the antidote to the joblessness to come.
It is pretty much agreed on nearly all sides that the some sacrifice and pain are unavoidable at this time. And since they are accepted as being for the good of us all, the stronger of us must hasten to lighten the burden of those who must take the road to unemployment.
But it ought not to be left to the unions alone to grapple with this set of unfortunate circumstances on their members’ behalf. The challenge is as much that of all of us Barbadians of an Independent nation as it is of the workers’ representatives.
As a people with individual choice, how each of us carries out our deeds every day will be unique to our own circumstances. But the overall results have the potential of alleviating the anxiety, fears and dislodgement of our affected neighbour, brother, sister.
And whatever deed may be chosen, let us ever be guided by the principle that a good act is always done with honourable intention and ought not to contain a lie.
Let not, therefore, our much touted fame for resilience be seen clothed in selfishness and individual self-preservation, but rather cloaked in the warmth of brotherly love and concern for, and upliftment of the other. If our politicians won’t, let us, their electors, demonstrate to them that we can: that is, set aside the differences that ostensibly divide us and for the sake of this country of ours pull ourselves up by the bootstraps for one and all –– for now and forever. Amen.