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EDITORIAL: On reading between those lines


BARBADOS NATION

EDITORIAL: On reading between those lines

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JUST LAST WEEKEND, the benefits to our young of the school programme Power Of Choice were highlighted and applauded.

At Friday’s launch of the Power Of Choice School Network at St Leonard’s Boys’ Secondary, Christ Church Foundation principal Robert Cumberbatch boasted of the positive results of the programme.

Speaking of the positive changes he had seen in the behaviour of students at his school, where Power Of Choice was first launched, Mr Cumberbatch attributed this resoluteness to the influence of the messages carried on banners at his institution. These promoted concepts are meant to instil in students the notion there are positive alternatives to the making of bad decisions.

Of course, we give kudos to Freemind Institute director Errol Griffith for conceptualising this initiative, and highly credit the principals of the likes of Foundation, St Leonard’s, Princess Margaret Secondary School and Charles F. Broome Primary for grabbing the opportunity thereof.

Shane Lewis of Screenplay Networks, the company installing the digital screens at schools, is not to be left out. His passion for using the technology to project positive messages to our young is quite commendable.

With technology developing at a record pace, and children mastering smartphones and iPads – some even before they are fully out of diapers – it is crucial that we adults keep them on the path of constructiveness. Critical to this is not only the digital screen and banner messages they will observe, but the other material they will read, interpret and consume on the Internet and, regrettably to a lesser extent, in books.

Beyond the positive-message pushing on the school walls, there must be a concerted effort in our institutions of learning, outside of the compulsory book study for examinations, ever to instil across the board the love of reading in our children.

The importance of getting our young to develop that deep interest in reading from the early stages can only result in a passion for such lifelong activity. And, a love for reading often correlates with a love for learning, and an intense enthusiasm for proper and effective usage of words in our own speaking and writing. Such positive traits will ultimately lead our young to the empowerment required for life success.

As the Greek philosopher Aristotle advised us, “good habits formed at youth make all the difference”.

Indeed, the positive messaging to and influencing of our children will not be restricted to the school. The home too must play its part. The goal could be to have as many books as toys – or more – in the family space for our young. Naturally, this possession would be in tandem with the acquired collection of literary e-gems. We are not unaware of the fact the downloading of e-books can be a cost-cutting matter.

Of course, any library is ever a great option, and the treasures our children may come across therein are not to be downplayed. When sensible and responsible reading becomes a passion for our progeny, positive, poignant and powerful messages are the reward.

For all the appreciative and grand work of Power Of Choice, the inspirational messaging will not be exclusive to that programme. Parents and the home must play their part, and it is important to note that while our children should have our guidance and correction, they need more models of us than they require critics. It is this very stand that will exemplify to them the positive message of tolerance, its quality and importance.

And, never let us ever forget American civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s strong urging: “The time is always right to do what is right.”

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