It’s interesting and confounding at the same time, how the first commandment of love is so often compromised by the rule of Law.
Love is meant to be a positive, energising and facilitatory force, whilst Law often takes the via negativa. The Good News brought to us by the Matthean scribe, broken and shared today, is challenging to many of us, none more so at this time than the thousands of students who experienced the CXC Examinations process this year.
I tuned in to the online virtual conference last Sunday, anticipating clear and cogent reporting by the CXC Board, who had undertaken to present the findings of the Independent Review Committee mandated to investigate the reasons for the widespread angst of some 5,000 exam candidates. The largely Caribbean audience and viewership included many students seeking answers to their queries.
Whilst the Board Chairman, Prof Sir Hilary Beckles was deemed in the comments to be able to “distinguish nothingness”, the students’ unembellished feedback revealed deep disappointment, even disgust, with the paucity of the Registrar’s responses to their valid questions and they even poked fun at the ‘gap’—his natural dental work as much as the perceived lack of credible response.
Here is where the commandment to love and the convention of the law collided! The 2 Cs of CXC and CAPE met 8 other Cs – COVID-19, concerns, confusion (manifested as stress of students, teachers, parents), communication (inadequate), consideration (lack of), culture (the way we do things, customs), connectivity (internet service inequity, inaccessibility, affordability), and change (the overarching need for dexterous management of the process, procedures and proclaimers).
Whilst I observed the flow and content of the online commentaries by students and persons whom I think were education psychologists, I was at times alarmed by the vitriol and language used by the students.
Nonetheless, even as the body language of the erstwhile Chairman told a complete story of his disappointment in the inadequacies of the Caribbean institution’s administrative provisions, his love and care for Caribbean people was evident in the solutions he offered, in particular, for our youth— hope of our civilisation, they who are looking on at the ‘models’ for mediating “great hardships” (1 Thess 6).
A hopeful outcome of the conference was a promise to meet with Caribbean Ministers of Education and other stakeholders to work through the challenges and create efficient, effective, yet ‘loving’ responses.
The compassionate response is absolutely needed for those students, teachers and parents who have to move on in faith, waiting for servants of truth (1 Thess 10).
It is this same compassion, caring for the other, as proffered in the Matthean account (Matt 22:37–40), which is required of us all, not so much what we avoid, as what positive actions we intentionally create and execute for the good of ‘neighbour’ and for our own.
Self-interest and sterile authoritarianism are ultimately futile. All law should be framed in love. Justice in this way will see clearly how wisdom, truth about the human person and empathy make for better relationships in community. If we continually turn to the Source of all graces, the C of Courage to live in that way flows from complete love of God, with heart, soul, and mind.
That’s how the Law of Love works for all!
Celia Regis is a member of the Communications Ministry of the
Our Lady of Fatima RC Church, Curepe.