Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, said today (September 9), that the family needs to be re-established as the basic institution in which both parents inculcate positive values, and attitudes in their children.
“Too many children do not have a family in which to grow and be nurtured,” the Governor-General lamented.
He was speaking at a meeting with the Custos of Kingston, Rev. Canon, the Hon. Weeville Gordon; members of the Lay Magistrates Association of Jamaica (Kingston Chapter); Justices of the Peace from Kingston; and the Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie. The function was held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in Kingston.
The Governor-General emphasised that Jamaica should re-visit a model of the basic family unit, noting that “we have moved away from what was originally established as the family unit – one that supports youth development and which encourages them to strive for excellence.”
“We have so many cases of single parent or even common-law unions, which sometimes do not have the commitment, and in those situations, the occasional visit and interaction of one member of the family,” he pointed out.
The Head of State suggested that young people need to be brought up in situations where they have a “24 hours per day, 365 days a year commitment from both parents.”
“I am not naive to think that we will not have situations that are less than ideal, but we must commit ourselves to establishing and teaching, in whatever way, certain values relating to the family, and where we do not have family structures properly in place, then we need to put remedial structures where community organisations, the church and the school, will be involved in child rearing, teaching values, teaching manners, teaching respect. These are fundamental principles,” he stressed.
The Governor-General said that the family, supported by the church, the school and the community, must work together to support young people, thereby helping to restore some of the basic values in society. “We have to use the agencies, the institutions and resources at our disposal for the development of our young people and ourselves,” he said.
“I believe that once we have established a foundation with the family as the primary agents of socialisation, and education as a major focus, we will be well on our way toward empowering our youth,” the Governor-General asserted.
He said that it must be embedded in young persons that “the world owes them nothing,” and that the values and principles that are instilled in them, by the family and through education, must motivate them to take charge of their lives, set realistic goals, believe in themselves and make a success of their lives.
“Our youth must appreciate the value of hard work, commitment, dedication, and discipline. In empowering our youth, we must ensure that we surround them with positive role models, whom they can mirror,” the Governor-General said.
He urged the Church to continue their programmes of intervention and to be the counsellors, supporters, physicians, pastors and teachers, so that the youngsters can have someone to emulate.
The Governor-General further charged the community to once again become involved in the children’s upbringing and “be the eyes and ears of parents when children are not within sight.”