|Do as you say – Feb 23|
REGENERATING THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL VALUES OF OUR SOCIETY
By Vernon Khelawan
We can make all sorts of grandiose pledges in support of the Third Pastoral Priority – Regenerating the Moral and Spiritual Values of our Society – but at the end of the day, such a task has to begin in the home, with the family.
Family life cannot improve if the nation’s families stick to the old maxim “Do as I say, but not as I do.” To a large extent this is exactly what happens in many families. How many parents ensure that the children attend Holy Mass on the weekend, while they themselves remain at home to look at sports on the television, go to the beach or just simply laze around the house?
There are two major obstacles in getting the values of this Priority to be properly understood, at least by our Roman Catholic families. One is the single parent syndrome (in the majority of instances it really means single mothers). There are so many relationships where the father is missing in action for lengthy periods, if not forever. Then there is that phenomenon of modern living where the technology encourages “doing their own ting” from an early age so no one has time for the other. Everybody is just too busy.
Of course, there is the other challenge of the inordinate length of time it takes to get to and from work, which has reached the point where primary school pupils are being awakened at a ridiculous hour in the morning, skipping breakfast and sleeping in the car all the way to school. This has a telling, if not traumatic effect on our young people. But that is life in our Trinidad and Tobago today.
So this uphill task of regenerating our society’s moral and spiritual values will not be easy, especially since the degeneration began at least two generations ago. One only has to listen to today’s sad stories where child abuse (sexual and otherwise) is being uncovered daily. Respect for people, property and the law has been effectively thrown out the window, starting at home. Manners and values are no longer taught in the home; that is now left to the television, the radio and society itself.
I was driving out of Camsel’s parking lot recently and three schoolgirls, the eldest being no more than 10, were walking through the area, blocking almost the entire driveway. I was forced to slow down and as I passed, the eldest shouted, “You buy your licence or what?”