Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­

FOR THE last few weeks, Ja­maica has been rocked with news of chil­dren be­ing bru­tally killed and other heinous acts com­mit­ted against them. Evan­ge­list Er­rol Rat­tray, founder of Oper­a­tion Hope and head of the Evan­ge­lis­tic As­so­ci­a­tion, wants fam­i­lies and the rest of so­ci­ety to unite and start pro­tect­ing the chil­dren.

For Rat­tray, in this, a month that is be­ing cel­e­brated as Par­ent Month, it is a fit­ting time to ap­peal to those who are charged with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for their chil­dren. The ap­peal is also made to the so­ci­ety as an ex­tended fam­ily.

Re­mind­ing that chil­dren are im­por­tant to the fi­bre of so­ci­ety and they are not too young to play im­por­tant roles, he drew on the bi­b­li­cal ex­am­ple of Je­sus Christ be­gin­ning his min­istry at the age of 12, con­found­ing lawyers and show­ing im­pres­sive lead­er­ship even at that stage.

The time, he said, has come for par­ents to step up to the plate and be more vig­i­lant about the care and pro­tec­tion of their chil­dren.

“What bet­ter place to start than this the month be­ing cel­e­brated for par­ents?” he quizzed.

The days when chil­dren are be­ing si­lenced and most times ‘put in their cor­ners’ are over, pointed out Rat­tray.

“Some adults are hold­ing on to the old adage that chil­dren should be seen and not heard,” he said, adding that from bi­b­li­cal days, that has been a no, no.

“Je­sus dis­ci­ples tried to do the same, shun­ning them, but Je­sus him­self re­buked them and told them to al­low the chil­dren to come to Him,” points out Rat­tray.


He said it hurts his heart that so many vi­o­lent crimes are com­mit­ted against the chil­dren, point­ing out that it is time for par­ents and all the ‘vil­lages’ in Ja­maica to start tak­ing a proac­tive ap­proach in pro­tect­ing the coun­try’s great­est as­sets.

“A child to­day is to­mor­row’s adult. They are al­ways watch­ing and look­ing at our lead­ers, and chil­dren can in­flu­ence changes and de­ci­sions of their par­ents,” he said.

“When you take away the fu­ture of what a child be­comes, it hurts the com­mu­nity, it causes pain and hurt to the so­ci­ety and it will even­tu­ally hurt the en­tire coun­try,” he opined.

Rat­tray’s mes­sage to the heart­less ones is a plea for them to al­low chil­dren to live out their true po­ten­tial.

He is also reach­ing out to par­ents who are also a part of the prob­lem. As for him, chil­dren are at risk in their homes a lot more than on the streets.

He stressed that many run away be­cause of ad­verse con­di­tions at home, ex­pos­ing them­selves to even greater risks.

“We take away their fu­ture when we abuse them and they have scars and some come out with ha­tred and need for re­venge. Their fu­ture is also taken away by mo­lesta­tion, be­ing mis­un­der­stood and al­low­ing them to feel less than they are,” said Rat­tray.

The evan­ge­list is warn­ing against the ‘nine-day won­der’ of emo­tions run­ning high when some­thing hor­ri­ble hap­pens to our chil­dren and then it’s back to busi­ness as usual.

“The fight and zeal must be on­go­ing,” he con­cluded.

I be­lieve the chil­dren are our fu­ture Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they pos­sess in­side Give them a sense of pride to make it eas­ier Let the chil­dren’s laugh­ter re­mind us how we used to be – Ge­orge Ben­son

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