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Letters to the Editor

Entitlement mentalityDecember 27, 2010Dear Sir,I wish to share the following provocative/profound story, sent to me by a friend, with the readership of your column. Every reader can learn some invaluable lessons therefrom. I believe that had the elders in the Black community perpetuated such lessons/teachings years ago, Bermuda would not be wallowing in the quagmire of despair with respect to young Black men who are consumed by the virus of bitterness, because as the story says, they’ve developed an “entitlement mentality”. Unfortunately, and sadly, their attitude is one of ingratitude big time! In order to prevent the next generation of black children from being so afflicted, the whole truth (the good, the bad and the ugly) of our story must be told now.A sack of new toys and cup of soup at Christmas time, and school breakfasts year round for our children does not and will never cut it! For they only provide temporary comfort to their physical bodies, and not their holistic selves which speaks to the interconnection of all aspects of children yes, physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual and their natural/God-bestowed creative genius. Bermuda needs a complete paradigm shift in her manner of life/conduct from her entrenched evil posture of competitiveness which has bred greed, selfishness, corruption and destruction to that of cooperation which will produce a climate of team-spiritedness, individual and collective pride and prosperity, and preservation and celebration of the essence of life. I could go on. However, I will lift my fingers from my keyboard and give way to the real purpose of this message. Wishing everyone happy health and prosperity in the forthcoming year! Ever Learning,PEGGY BURNSSt. David’sA story of appreciationOne young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the first interview. The director did the last interview and made the final decision. The director discovered from the resume that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from secondary school through postgraduate research, and he never had a year when he did not score.The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?” The youth answered “none”. The director asked: “Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered: “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.”The director asked: “Where did your mother work?” The youth answered: “My mother worked as clothes cleaner.” The director asked the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect. The director asked: “Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?” The youth answered: “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.” The director said: “I have a request. When you go back home today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”The youth felt his chance of landing the job was high. When he went home he happily asked his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy, but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to her son.The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tears fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.This was the first time the youth realised that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay his school fees. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future. After finishing cleaning his mother’s hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother. That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office. The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes and asked: “Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”The youth answered: “I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes.” The Director asked: “Please tell me your feelings.” The youth said: “”Number 1, I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, there would not be a successful me today. Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.”The director said, “This is what I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company’s performance improved tremendously. A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted will develop “entitlement mentality” and will always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parents’ efforts. When he starts work he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager he would never know the sufferings of his employees, and would always blame others. For this kind of person, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel a genuine sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the child instead?You can let your children live in a big house, eat good meals, learn to play the piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow grey the same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is that your children learn how to appreciate the effort, experience the difficulty, and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.Thanks for the endorsementDear Sir,I would like to reply to RASTAFARI’s letter, in which he states that my book title: ‘WOPPENED’ is ‘another glaring example of a foreign person being given acclaim for what is not rightfully theirs.’ If RASTAFARI were to pick up any of my past 22 editions, he would see on page one, in capital letters ‘WOPPENED: BERMEWJAN WORD FOR WHAT HAPPENED’. In some cases I have clarified it further with: ‘PAST TENSE OF WOPNIN’.I thank RASTAFARI for his endorsement. Believe me, sir, I DO give credit when it’s due.PETER WOOLCOCKPembrokeStones in glass housesDecember 23, 2010Dear Sir,In his letter in today’s paper, “Rastafari” took issue with your column of for crediting Peter Woolcock with creating the expression “Woppened”, stating that this is, “just one more glaring example of a foreign person being given acclaim for what is not rightfully theirs”. He then goes on to admonish his “peeps” to “be vigilant and guard what genuinely belongs to us”. I am grateful to Rastafari for using the venerable language of the “foreigner” to write his jingoistic letter of castigation, so that non-Rastafarians like myself could understand it.STEPHEN NOTMANPaget