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An appropriate time to re-examine our value system

As Bermuda along with many countries approach perhaps the biggest festive season of the Christian calendar, which we all know as Christmas, it might be an appropriate time to re examine our value system which largely determines our quality of life.Recent disclosures of enormous short comings in our social infrastructure ,especially when it comes to the effect it is having on our children ,should set off alarm bells, that unless this slide to social disorder is reversed, our future will be a huge question mark.In recent decades, our value system has come under every type of onslaught from drastic life style changes, to negative outside influences that include demeaning hostile music, not to mention violent games that glorify destruction of life and limb, to maintain some type of power.All of this creates a heavier burden on parenting today, which to a large degree is already in a crisis, since poisoned young minds are more likely to develop anti social attitudes. As these people become parents, a chain reaction of dysfunctional behaviour is set into motion, that could be extremely difficult to turn around.Bermuda finds itself in the grip of results from an evolving social pattern that has been gradually threatening our value system for decades.Despite these negatives, no opportunity should be missed to re-visit good values, that create brighter hope for this country and its people. Christmas and what it truly represents, could be just that opportunity. While we cannot afford to be in denial that serious situations confront us all as a society, our sights should never shift from trying to build a better country with good values.It must begin with what we teach our children when it comes to values. Some may feel so much damage has been done already, that it is a bit too late to think in that direction. That would be surrender. Bermuda is still a great country with much to offer, but our inner house of values needs recharging.Christmas should not be just a time for getting, even though receiving gifts is wonderful. It is not easy to teach young people the importance of giving in a climate where getting everything you possibly can takes centre stage. If our children see adults clamoring over each other in a world of materialism ,surely they will begin to assess that as the way to go.Sometimes not getting what you want, is a lesson in itself. In fact the story of the Manger and the humble beginnings that set this whole wonderful story of Christmas in motion, is almost forgotten in the rush of activity these days associated mainly with the celebration.Nothing wrong with bright lights, colourful decorations and festive music to highlight the season. However we must be mindful that when the music fades, and the lights and decorations are removed, serious underlying challenges remain for our country.Our leaders also need to pool their strengths for the good of the country, and while that may be a tired worn our phrase heard so much these days, most people are overly frustrated over our inability to shake off political differences, and focus on what is right.Not one political party in this country can solve Bermuda’s many problems alone. Facing truths and having a clear vision, even if the truths are painful ,is the only way forward.With a new year approaching there will be much talk about this and that project to improve our plight. What really matters is that people are convinced, that political posturing will not be the order of the day, in order to avoid some unpleasant truth.Education, health care, unemployment, housing, crime including gang warfare, and the state of tourism are issues that will be with us long after the festivities end.Our family structure which is the anchor of any society must be based on good values for daily living. This Christmas the greatest gift Bermuda can get, is a return to values such as decency, respect, and truth. We must never cease to strive for that. It would be good if we could get those qualities in everyone’s stocking.Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to all.