Article: Watch: Author Nicole Dennis-Benn on Giving a Voice to Jamaica’s Working Class

Watch: Author Nicole Dennis-Benn on Giving a Voice to Jamaica’s Working Class

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First Pregnancy Series: A Husband’s Perspective

I love this…. A Daddy Reid rightly said women want this in a man. At what point do our men forget to do these things?

Shandean™

I haven’t made a blog in quite some time. I’m inclined to make some comment about football and write a long ass post about it.

Nope…this is not one such post. So if that’s what you were expecting please leave now. If you’re interested in what I have to say these next couple words please continue to read because what I have to say comes from deep within.

Tonight I lay beside my pregnant wife and as I felt Pepperseed aka Baby Reid move about in her tummy, I became very emotional and teary eyed. I’m deeply and madly in love with them both and I would move mountains for them.
Men, we have lost the fundamentals of who men are suppose to be. As such we have given up our rightful place at the head of the table and for what? Absolutely nothing.

I have received 3 compliments these…

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Teachers Day

We have reached another year in which we celebrate the work of teachers. This is something worth celebrating as these are the people that spend most the day with us. They help to mold us into responsible, independent persons that can help to develop a sustainable society.

The day before was the Read Across Jamaica initiative, where many  volunteers including corporate entities took part in reading in schools. From the reviews that I’ve seen, it was a worthwhile experience. However after the day, what next? The teachers have the task of continuing this work, encouraging persons to read, to understand the importance of reading and how far it can take you as it provides a deeper level of reasoning.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child”. Carl Jung

I am aware that there are teachers who have a different approach in dealing  with their students, who go as far as abusing and degrading them; some of these tactics are what they believe can help the student to be better. The approach works for some students while it doesn’t for some. Every child is different and for each stage of life it gets harder to mold the minds of persons, as our experiences can affect the expected outcome.

Can you imagine having a class of minimum 20 pupils – 20 different personalities? Learning each and every student’s behaviour and  learn that the way you to teach has to be adjusted, as some learn faster than some.  Some need extra lessons,  some miss school because of issues they’re having at home. Not to mention creating lesson plans, having to set exams and tests enabling a good pass percentage for the group, having angry parents approach you to say that their child isn’t learning and you’re the reason why. Saving a student because they are being abused by a family member and being their voice when they are not able to speak for themselves…..the list goes on.

I remember after leaving a History workshop in 6th form, we were complaining that we don’t get enough time to rest in summer and we have all this work to do. My teacher answered by saying we didn’t have much to worry about, that we were young, compared to her who had no time to rest. Balancing her marriage, newborn son, marking papers, creating new lesson plans and other things that prevented her from really enjoying her summer.

Over the years we have seen where teachers were dissatisfied with the wages that they had been receiving. Though it is a general view by many workers in our society both public and private, with some achieving the increases they want compared to other organizations.

In 2015, the  Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) rejected the 7% increase offered by the Government. One representative from the JTA commented:

“I believe that the average teacher – that is one who has a first degree – should go home with no less than $10,000 more after tax,” Morris outlined to The Sunday Gleaner. “The current offer would see that teacher going home with $7,000 more; that can’t even buy a tank of gas”.

From another perspective, one can assume that some of these concerns we could brush off and state that they could have taken the 7% increase as we Jamaicans would say ‘it betta dan nuttin‘. However, when considering what they have to do in molding the minds of students that spend most of their days in their presence. It would cause for anyone to want a raise of pay.

Let us continue to show some respect for the work of our teachers, who in a combined effort with the social groups we are apart of; help to mold and shape our minds to be ready for the society. Granted they may not get it right at times- cut them some slack. However let us be more appreciative of these amazing educators, advisers, mentors and coaches that have graced our presence and have made an impact in our lives.

 

Sources:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_teacher.html

http://www.jta.org.jm/article/double-or-nothing-teachers-want-least-10

 

Why SOCA?

We are in the Soca season here in Jamaica and I LOVE IT!!!! Never liked it before but I believe attending UWI and having soca junkies in my presence helped to changed that. I’ve learnt a handful about this genre and the impact it has on the Jamaican people. I’m grateful that it was introduced as it promotes integration. If you are a junkie or like the music, you notice that your circle of revelers are not just Jamaican but a diverse group of persons all wanting to share in the same thing.  

Yes, with this integration it means that you would need to go with some sense and not just jump when someone agrees to loving soca as not everyone is nice.

Being a lover of the genre that causes for you to start dancing from your feet up, and to be loose in more ways than one. I’m shocked when people say that they don’t like SocaThe only reason I can remember one person said, is that the beat is the same for most songs; to each his own.

However as a music lover and one who loves every opportunity to dance. It’s the simplest avenue for you to move. Though I may not be on the same level of those seasoned junkies, anywhere mi deh …. 

Ah jus want tuh play mehself
Leave meh leh meh play ah mas!
I jus wah tuh wine on someting! I cyah mek no bumpa pass 
Meh pride in de lost and found!
Watch meh how ah winin down!
I all on de dutty ground!
And nuttin can stop me now!

As mentioned before, it promotes integration, bearing in mind the informal rules while at a fete, you have a free pass to wine on almost any bumper. Unlike a Dancehall where men don’t get the oportunity to dance any girl. With Soca, if you never had a girl before, you must find a willing bumpa by the fete done. With songs such as Like A Boss, Just A Little Bit, I Am Soca, Soca Palance, you are guaranteed to squat,wine, bubble and chip. 

BeachJouvert

Then there’s the grand event that ends all events for the season which is The road march, where you  get pretty, tone or loose the weight for the longest dance you’ll do until the next march. Where it’s funny is that without the music, nuff a we nah walk fi so long- weh dat a go? With the music, having your friends around, feeling sexy, stealing a whine with few people, letting that rum simmer soak in. With all that taken into consideration, its the best day ever. The unfortunate effect is that you may suffer from Carnival Tabanca Tuesdays. Thank God for YouTube and promoters that host parties now and then. 

Dance

And when yuh feel that de soca done,
Well is more soca to come,
And when yuh feel that de wining done,
Well is more wining to come,
And when yuh feel that de jumpin done,
Well is more jumpin to come,
And when yuh feel that de soca done,
Well is more soca to come,
Come, come , come , come

 

Lyrics:  http://islandlyrics.com/lyrics-kerwin_du_bois_ft_patrice_roberts-i_am_soca.htm#sthash.kUtqYXMa.dpuf

http://islandlyrics.com/lyrics-machel_montano-like_ah_boss_2015.htm#sthash.I2hKqvV1.dpuf

 http://islandlyrics.com/lyrics-destra_garcia-lucy_2015.htm#sthash.i2vMIrSx.dpuf

 

 

 

The Beaten’s Perspective

Many of us have had the touch of the leather belt on our skins because of the trouble we gave when we were younger. Some with a different level of trouble got the shoes, broom, fan belt, metre stick and even the wire. At the end of the day, we all turned out pretty good, we can can laugh at the moments in which we got it, what we tried to do to avoid it and what our parents did to get us to stay put an ‘tek lick’.

One of the effects is when we see younger siblings or relatives acting up, we the third party are offended at the responses and actions they let out. As we have always been told don’t spare the rod and spoil the child (the phrase was actually coined by Samuel Butler in 1664 in one of his poems).

Unfortunately, there are those who with those beatings got bruised, and abused in the process. This should not be the case as the repercussions of such acts do not help with nurturing the child to be better individuals. Many persons would argue that corporal punishment is not the way to go and that it should be ruled out of the nurturing process. Yes, you can always talk to your child and tell them that what they are doing or did was wrong and expect that from the negotiations things will change. Granted this does not include children who may have a mental dysfunction and would not understand at the moment the change you are trying to instill. This is for the children who are quite normal but are just rude.

So…. what do you do is when you reprimand your child or relative, and he/she still doesn’t get it?

Believe me, that first slap you give the child will have them shocked as they never expected it. Let’s be real, we do test our parents to know their limit. However there is a certain way to achieve this; if successful, each parent knows their child and knows the effect of some acts. “Just save the yeye” as many Jamaican parents would say.

As an older sibling and former beaten child, I believe these steps below can help to better nurture your kids in the way you want. In the end creating positive results than negative ones.

Step 1- Educate them

It’s always good before they act up to let them know where you stand on certain things. For example, if you are going to be on the road and know your budget cannot include KFC or Burger King. Tell them. Let there be that initial understanding that you will not be able to fulfill their needs at all times.

Step 2- Warn them

When that child begins to act up, warn them. Remind them that you are not able to buy the food and that you can get something else. If they continue then you let them know what will happen if they don’t stop. If the complaints still have not ceased, then you warn again.

Step 3- Administer the Punishment 

If they still continue this is it… you go in and just do it, don’t say I’m going to slap you now. Just do it.

Step 4- Debrief

After the act, this is the time, you sit with your child and let them know that what happened was because the act they did was bad. We are all human and at times we mess up. However, create that distinction between good and bad behaviour and also when beatings can be expected. This can then lessen the likelihood of you having to raise your hand.

Each child is different and once you share the same space with them,  you will then know how to treat each child accordingly. The steps mentioned above may not work all the time. However it should not allow for your frustrations to come through and you beat the child to a pulp.

The Big Bad Bully

 

We grow up wanting to be apart of a group and often times being apart of it, gets us into trouble that we may or may not be able to manage. With the influence  created  from these interactions, it may result in two different types of people; leaders and followers.

Of course, the followers are behind the influencers  and are often considered weak in comparison to their leaders. Leaders on the other hand, manage and issue responsibilities for each member, so duties can be executed, based on the nature of the group.

According to Mcleod in his article of Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development (2008), “Individuals at age 5-12 go through the stage of Industry vs Inferiority. At this stage they will be learning to read and write, to do sums, to do things on their own. Teachers begin to take an important role in the child’s life as they teach the child specific skills.

It is at this stage that the child’s peer group will gain greater significance and will become a major source of the child’s self esteem. The child now feels the need to win approval by demonstrating specific competencies that are valued by society, and begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments. If children are encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industrious and feel confident in their ability to achieve goals. If this initiative is not encouraged, if it is restricted by parents or teacher, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting his own abilities and therefore may not reach his or her potential.

If the child cannot develop the specific skill they feel society is demanding (e.g. being athletic) then they may develop a sense of inferiority. Some failure may be necessary so that the child can develop some modesty. Yet again, a balance between competence and modesty is necessary. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of competence”.

Based on their experience, a child’s reaction can result in them being abrasive in their industrious behaviour resulting in persons being bullied.

 

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Study on the Prevalence and Impact of Bullying in Jamaica

 

Unfortunately, with these actions it results in persons being affected on varying levels. Whether it is being teased or called names, being kicked and shoved, having lies told on them or being ignored. Some of these behaviours that children learn are from their own guardians.  We can assume as well that because of the problems that these children face in their surroundings and peers, they know nothing else than to “act out”on weak persons.

As we grow older, some of us eventually get over the past and we believe we won’t allow persons to treat us the same way.   Our experiences of being bullied can make use achieve the better of the realm from Erikson’s stage.  Then there are those who are not able to forgive those who did them wrong and judge other persons based on their unfortunate experiences, assuming that they will hurt them also.

What if we meet these same people again? What would we do?

I remember meeting my bully in the town on a couple of occasions. Though I said Hi to her after she said Hi, I was shocked for a few good minutes. In my mind I’m saying

Hol’ Up!!!!!!  Whol’ on, you figet wah you do to me?

That’s the thing…these people may not remember what they did to you, they may apologize, they may not. It’s up to you to let them know that it affected you, and accept the apology if there is one, forgive but not forget.

If we have had this experience; yes we have had troubles of our own. Would you forgive this person? Would you allow your experiences to dictate how you live your life? or would you do your best to rise above it?

Don’t get me wrong, this is not for us to forget what happened. However consider these as life lessons and not regrets. We should not let our past define  who we are.

Source: McLeod, S. (2008). Erik Erickson. Retrieved from Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages, http://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html

Child Development Agency. (2015). Study on the Prevalence and Impact of Bullying in Jamaica . Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/cdajm/photos/pb.118613151504525.-2207520000.1447896086./1058876714144826/?type=3&thea

My Journey to St. Thomas

Yesterday, apart from attending the church service for the Caribbean Optimist International held at Coke Methodist. I was luckily to get a few minutes of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion led by Paul Bogle one of our National Heroes.
 Members of the Optimist International posing for a picture inside the Coke Methodist Church.
Members of the Optimist International posing for a picture inside the Coke Methodist Church.
During the sermon, the Reverend Michael Graham gave a little history of the town where he highlighted that the great-grandson of Paul Bogle approached the church for assistance. With the help he received, it allowed him to build the first high school in the parish which is the Morant Bay High School. After church through my tour of the town, I found the old courthouse and was able to view the celebrations of such an important day. I was excited to be apart of the celebrations and began a conversation with one of the patrons who was of the Rastafarian faith.  He said that he was happy and gave thanks for the rain and the ability to have the march from Stony Gut to the town.
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The Morant Bay Uprising 150 years later: Protest to Prosperity – The journey continues
While watching the proceedings of the dance done by the cultural group, I began talking with Dr. Michael Barnett, lecturer in the faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies about the day. When questioned about why Rastas decided to participate in the various activities. He answered that Rastas can relate to act of the rebellion and associate it with Rastafari. He went further to say that it is in St. Thomas that Rastafari began, and even the music that is used in the religion was derived from the traditional music of the parish.
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Patrons observe the cultural group perform during the celebrations at the old courthouse.
In his article Morant Bay: Lessons for Today (2015), Dr. Orville Taylor stated that “Today is the 150th anniversary of the Morant Bay Rebellion, and I believe that both the British government and our local leaders need a reminder of our history. Morant Bay was about a detached and insensitive colonial government that did not care about the welfare of the slave descendants on the island, and a set of Englishmen who did not comprehend the dynamics of race, skin colour and class on the rock. It is amazing how little things have changed“.
Though many persons would agree with this statement, considering the current state of the country and what our leaders are doing to make it better for us to citizens. I believe that we can use the month which is considered heritage month, to use the events that took place in our nation’s history as lessons of the past and have ideas of making a better society for the future.
Sources:
Taylor, O. Dr. (2015, October 11). Morant Bay: Lessons for Today. The Sunday Gleaner. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/focus/20151011/morant-bay-lessons-today