Our children need positive signals
Bermuda has continued to move forward despite a history of social and political differences that threatened the core values of our society, and in the process left a trail of emotional wounds that have yet to fully heal. This has placed a heavy burden on our island leaders, especially in the political arena, where negative attitudes are entrenched.
In the struggle to move forward, we have had black and white premiers amid situations where racial tensions created an atmosphere that filled the air with negative signals without regard for what effect it could have on children who were coming into the world and on why some people were treated different based on the colour of their skin.
Remarkably, even during that sad period of our history, there were people on both sides of the social divide who rose above conditions of that time to keep positive signals out front for the benefit of the next generation. It was that spirit that propelled Bermuda into a new day, which opened the door to tackle issues collectively, with the knowledge that problems would not be solved overnight.
Our leaders also knew that changing laws to eradicate social injustice to move Bermuda forward did not mean that hearts and minds had been changed. That aspect of change would take time, which is the case in many countries where social injustice was once a part of life.
It is always the little things that occur without making headlines that push the healing process forward. An example, I witnessed something that highlighted the true Bermudian spirit involving the late former premier David Saul. It was an event at one of our hotels to honour a teacher who had touched the lives of many children at the Victor Scott School, which was the Central School during her spell in the teaching profession.
That special lady being honoured was Edna Mae Scott, wife of Victor Scott, after whom the school is now named.
That night, another event was taking place at the same hotel on another floor, and a special guest there was Dr Saul. When word reached him that a celebration was taking place in Mrs Scott's honour, he took time out from proceedings and made his way to the Scott party, announcing that there was no way he would miss out on congratulating someone who had made such a contribution towards Bermuda's growth. It was that mark of recognising the spirit that Bermuda must never lose.
This is why it is vitally important for all of our leaders to keep positive signals in the air for our young people to grasp as they make their way in a world clustered with negative distractions, which can easily lead to missteps when there is a shift from focusing on positive values handed down from those who have already toiled through the many storms of life.
It is with great pride that during this Heritage Month of celebrations, Bermuda has moved into an era where differences of opinion are an accepted part of democracy, and where respecting those differences will enable us to better handle delicate issues, keeping in mind our core values.
No one would deny that economic growth is important in building a strong and healthy society, but without the building of a good character infrastructure based on sound qualities, what may seem to be progress could be artificial with no lasting substance.
Even though the family unit as we once knew it has weakened in laying the foundation for values that helped to get us this far, there must be continued efforts to send positive signals to our young people that there are rewards for being positive and consequences for choosing the path of negativity in search of the excitements that often have hidden dangers.
With Bermuda poised to make important strides in projecting our beautiful island to the world through the 35th America's Cup, along with projects such as the building of a new hotel and a new airport to help to boost our tourism industry, the signs are clear that all hands on deck are required from our leaders to keep our ship on course with success as our destiny.
Providing our children with positive signals to meet challenges ahead could be the catalyst for taking Bermuda to a higher level of opportunities that would enhance the strength of our communities and hopefully restore values necessary to move forward.
The work ahead will be far from easy, and along the way there will be bumps in the road — and that should be expected. However, with that old-fashioned Bermudian spirit of determination, we should have more victories than defeats. It will depend on our willingness to stay focused on victory.