Jamaica needs to get it right - educator
FAMILY life educator and president of the Adventist Church in Bermuda, Dr Jeffery Brown wants Jamaica to set an example for the world to follow in respect of correcting its image regarding family life, crime, violence and corruption.
"The whole world is waiting for Jamaica to get it right. If we have things so right, then what is wrong?" questioned Dr Brown, as he addressed the audience at the fifth Biennial Psychology Conference at the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville yesterday.
Dr Brown said that if Jamaica can fix the problem of family, it would have dealt a serious blow in the nation's decades-long fight against crime and violence and related ills.
"All over the world we are a two sided-coin: famous for sun, sand, and sports; famous for fun, family, and faith; famous for drive, determination, and discipline. And then infamous for crime and corruption, guns and gangs. What has gone wrong?
"We need an answer, but not just for Jamaica. The whole world is waiting for you to get it right because they know if you can't figure it out, Jamaica, what chance do the rest of us have?" Dr Brown said.
Despite the move by successive governments to implement a viable values and attitudes programme in Jamaica, it has still not brought about change in behaviour islandwide, Dr Brown said. The church, he believes, also has a role to play.
"The church must model what it preaches," Brown commented. "Abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage; responsive and responsible parenting."
He added that, "If we've got so many Christians in Jamaica, the world's media ought to be camping on your doorstep and taking notes. Nothing is more calculated to strengthen society than for our children to have godly parents as healthy role models. The family needs it; the church needs it; and the world needs it."
He warned the Government and well thinking Jamaicans not to "let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould," referring to the issue of same sex marriage.
"Some like to say," he quipped, "why can't we just be allowed to love and marry who we love? Even in some states in America that are promoting it, it don't operate like that. There are students who have a sexual attraction for a teacher and teachers who have a sexual attraction for a student. The attractions may be genuine, but the state deems such attractions inappropriate if they are acted upon.
"A person may love two women, you may even say you were born that way, but the State will not permit him to marry them. So if the State does not determine its laws on the basis of love alone, then why should the church?
"Christian love", Brown continued, "is not about feelings, it's about faith. It's not about the heart, it's about the head. It's not about passion, it's about principle. It's not about emotion, it's about devotion. It's not about happiness, it's about holiness. It's not about Hollywood, it's about the Holy Word. It's not about contentment, it's about commitment. It is built upon words such as regardless, however, and nevertheless.
"The church is preventative, but it is also redemptive ... we will reach out to those who suffer the consequences of sin. It takes a stand against divorce because of the devastating consequences for parents and children. Yes, God hates divorce, but not divorced people," he went on.
Brown made it clear that the responsibility can never be the task of one person alone.
"We need the home, the school, the community, the Government, and the church. Whichever professional group you are in, stop telling the other groups what they should be doing. Take care of your own business, because there is room for all of us," he stated.
The theme for the conference was "Healthy Family Life - Education a Nation for a Positive Future".