This nation???s children have been advised to live wholesome and positive lives.

Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett threw out this challenge yesterday as he addressed a church service to mark the start of Child Month under the theme Let???s Embrace and Appreciate Our Children. It was held at the Sanctuary Empowerment Centre in Country Road.

First reminding members of the congregation that the family and care givers could have a great influence on the lives of children, he said it was incumbent on society to embrace a culture of celebrating and appreciating the nation???s children from the time of conception.

???Furthermore, as has been proven time and time again, a child well cared for, affirmed and in whom good core values have been instilled from birth, is most likely to become the stable, reliable and confident young person and adult that is needed to move a country forward,??? he noted.

The Social Care minister encouraged all parents and care givers to instill Christian principles in their children, since these values had worked in the past.??He told the care givers to provide discipline but to do so in a loving manner, and to establish meaningful responsibilities and fair boundaries for children.

He also advised them to ensure that their children attended church at an early stage in their lives. ???Let them see your commitment to God and his word by the lifestyles you live. No longer should we talk the talk alone; we should all walk the walk!,??? he stressed.

Encouraging the young people gathered to use their youth wisely, and to pursue the things that would bring glory to them and their family, he said, ???Be firm in your efforts to resist those things that will bring shame and regret???.

???Negative behaviours are counterproductive. When situations present themselves that you know are negative; that you know are wrong, Stop, and Think about the things that you are doing or about to do. Check yourselves as each step or action that you make today will count towards your future,??? he urged.

Mr. Blackett reminded the young people that they were never alone because God was omnipresent and there were many caring adults, teachers, caregivers and fellow students who had their best interest at heart.

Emphasising that a good character was essential, he said that honesty, trustworthiness, kindness, cooperation and self-respect were traits that were essential for their development and would enable them to become pillars in the home, school and community.

The Social Care minister also advised the nation???s youth to have self-respect and to respect others if they were to grow up to be exemplary citizens.

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