Village life, involvement in community groups and the church, and playing games together, were identified as three pillars responsible for keeping the Barbadian society together in days gone by.
It was those pillars, said Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, that taught the youth valuable life lessons, encouraged children to stay out of trouble, and moulded them into the citizens they turned out to be.
Mr. Brathwaite was at the time speaking during the closing ceremony of the Youth Equipped to Achieve workshop at Radisson Aquatica Resort, recently.??
Giving a personal testimony of how these elements helped him as boy, the Minister recalled growing up in his ???village??? during the 1960s and 70s without television, internet or other modern devices.
Despite that, he said: ???We all had stable families, even one like mine where there was no father but a single mother with four boys. There wasn???t a time when I didn???t feel emotionally or physically safe as a young boy.
Not only did I have the strength of my mother and my brothers, but I also had the village; I had my neighbours and friends. That stability, that emotional and physical stability, I think is very important and played a significant role in our growing up.???
Mr. Brathwaite, also Attorney General, stressed that the adage ???it takes a village to raise a child??? was very true as it was the village that raised him and his friends.
???We had the benefit of almost daily counsel of two seniors who made themselves available for cricket, tennis, any game we played. Moreover, after every session for long hours they chatted with us about any and everything. We congregated on a bridge in my village, that is where we sat down [but] we didn???t know that these guys were teaching us about life, or the impact they were having on us as young adults,??? he reminisced.
It was those healthy relationships with adults, he stated, that played a significant role in shaping his character.??However, the Minister made it clear that the role of community groups and the church in the lives of young people was also critical, as it gave a sense of belonging.
???It helped us to develop self-worth, and in so doing, we became conscious that all our actions were not only reflected on us, but reflected on everyone around us???,??? he pointed out.
Mr. Brathwaite further noted that there was also one constant between him and those he grew up with ??? ???we all went to church???, a fact he said made the difference and provided them with the ???moral moorings??? needed for life.
However, he challenged those present to apply what they did during the workshop going forward. ???Young people have a fantastic future ahead of them???I see more good things in this society; I see more good things among young people than I see bad things.
“Your horizons should not be 166 square miles. See yourselves as citizens of CARICOM and citizens of the world. There are remarkable opportunities out there???you need not limit yourselves to thinking Barbados only. The world is out there, it is yours to take,??? he urged.