We have a mistaken perception in Jamaica, that people from the "inner city" are either no good or up to no good.
...That nothing of worth can come from the ghetto/inner city.
This assumption was brought to the fore, this weekend, when I listened to a radio interview with a teacher from an inner city school.
He stated that his GSAT (a Jamaican examination that places students in high school, based on their grades) passes ranged from average to good, for the students he had.
Thus insinuating that since his students were from the inner city, they couldn't perform excellently, given the conditions under which they live (loud and lewd music form neighbourhood and block parties that run into the wee hours of the morning, thus preventing them from studying, them repeatedly having to hide under beds when gun shots are firing left, right and centre and their communties having constant unrest from crime and violence.)
But many middle and upper middle class people in Jamaica have come from the inner city or from humble backgrounds, where their parents had to struggle financially to survive and to see their kids' lives made better.
Our problem in Jamaica, is that quite a number of these people aren't willing to go back into their childhood communities to demonstrate how success can be attained from legitimate means.
Because of this, the youngsters in these communities have many negative role models (either musical artists who glorify the gun, or the dons and gun men in their community) who carry the sway in influencing these youngsters lives.
The positive role models in these communities - their parents, teachers, don't make enough money for the youngsters to look up to them, for unfortunately in this country, "money runs things"...money rules..those who have it (no matter how they got it) are held up in high esteem.
However, I want to tell all young people who are reading this blog, that is not where you're coming from that's important, it where you're going!
You can't change your background, but you can, with God's help, change your future!
It is you who determines whether or not you'll be successful (can have a successful career, so that you can live comfortably and properly support your children; live with purpose, whilst enabling and encouraging others to do the same) or not...
1) By making the sacrifices (decisions to delay "fun" and immediate gratification) now, so that you can have a better tomorrow.
E.g. studying (and not going to early morning dances)so that you can access scholarships to pursue your trade/career, so that your educational and skills qualifications can help you to access higher-paying jobs or help you create new ones.
2) By saying "no" to sex as a teen and before marriage...since, as a teen, you're not spiritually, emotionally and financially ready to bring a child into this world.
[Teens must realize that there is no contraceptive method that is 100% secure (other than abstinence.)]
3) By not wasting time in school..
If you do...your parents will have to spend more money (which is very hard to come by these days) to help you to get the education, the second time around, that you should have gotten in the first place.
You can also change your future by:
1) Trying to associate with positive people who can help you think through issues, clearly and encourage you to do your best at everything.
2) Setting realistic goals for yourself that you either want to accomplish by a certain age or in a certain time frame. E.g. a goal could be that by age 22, you would have completed college.
3) Using the talents and abilities that God has blessed you with to help and uplift, others.
4) Constantly developing yourself, so that in all areas of your life, there is progress. (E.g. spiritually, emotionally, educationally, financially and psychologically.)
I want to ask all of you who will embark on this sometimes lonely road to change for the better, despite your past, to depend on God for wisdom, strength and guidance on your journey.
For what you are embarking on is a journey with its ups and downs...setbacks and progressive events.
And you can't succeed on your own...you need God's guiding hand to ensure that you:
1) Don't slip back into old habits that will prevent you from attaining your goals.
2) Are surrounded by people who will help you move forward and not backward.
I wish you all the best, on your journey!
(The inset picture shows ice climbers being helped by other climbers, as they make their journey up the top of the mountain.)
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