Please Learn Your Lines
By Joye Ritchie-Greene
Feb 2, 2008 - 12:34:26 PM
This past week I was accused of not doing anything to help solve some of the social ills we have in our society.
The uniformed government employee told me that I, like so many others want the crime to continue.
While I was a bit stunned by such a claim, I listened to the individual with interest.
His assertion was that too many individuals are sitting back and not speaking out about the various crimes going on this country.
He cited incest and rape among those that receive little if any outrage from the general public.
He further commented that while the number of murders may seem very high for this small country, “only 12 of the victims were innocents.”
I recognize that this column has gained a large following over the years and, as such, I have a social responsibility to inform readers about those things which affect them directly or indirectly.
But should I be blamed for not doing enough to educate and inform you about these negative elements that continue to defile and demoralize our communities?
In a nutshell – yes.
Hearing Sr. John’s voice echoing in my ear that we must not be lukewarm in our thoughts and actions, but rather hot or cold, I will shoulder the affirmative response, rather than hiding behind a response like “perhaps.”
The record will show of course that this column has addressed the problems we have in this country many times, however this individual who accosted me believes more must be done.
So what exactly should my role be as a writer of a weekly column?
How is my role different from yours?
Or is it?
We each have our part to play, but the problem is that we do not all do what we are supposed to do.
Can you imagine how much better this society would be if children actually went to school at the age of four or five having the pre-requisite skills?
These basic skills would be knowing how and when to say please and thank you; knowing when to say excuse me; knowing when and how to speak to others.
If the child comes with these skills, then the academic education of your child can begin almost immediately.
However, the social skills that should have been taught at home, must now be taught first so that the proper environment is created for academic learning to begin.
The unfortunate reality is that these social skills that should have been taught within the first four to five years of the child’s life must somehow be taught along with reading, arithmetic, spelling, etc.
Am I blaming someone else now, of course not, I am merely pointing an obvious point, that is not so obviously seen.
William Shakespeare wrote that “all the world’s a stage” and we each have our “entrances and exits,” which means we each have a part to play.
What has happened is that while we each have a role to play, not all of us have prepared for the role, therefore the play ends up being a disaster.
No, life is not a game, but the politics in life tend to swing in that direction.
You may not want to view your life as a theatrical production, so select your own metaphor.
The point is that we must all do our part to bring about change and those of you with children or who work with children have the greatest challenge of all.
The jury is in and I have been told that I need to do more.
I accept that challenge and will continue to do my part to open your eyes, ears and hearts to all those things that can harm you as well as uplift you.
I do believe in the might of the pen, but I believe in human action more, so begin learning your lines so that the second Act to this play is not a total disaster as well.
About the author: Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at
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