Brenda continues the conversation she started last week with two young neighbours – 15-year-old Rhese and seven-year-old Mic – about ‘We Carnival’.
RHESE: Aunty B, remember last week you said that we would talk about integrity…
MIC: Yeah, and freedom.
BRENDA: I know, I know – ‘Integrity is Freedom’. What is integrity?
RHESE: According to the dictionary, integrity is “moral excellence, wholeness and soundness.” And before yuh ask, freedom means “unrestricted or liberty of action.” But why all this? Yuh feel we in school?
BRENDA: Well, yuh not in the school that you go to, but yuh could say yuh in ah school, because is we the older ones who have to teach the younger ones.
RHESE: Okay, okay, tell we about ‘Integrity is Freedom’ and how this is concerned with Carnival.
BRENDA: Yes, yes. When we hear the word Carnival now, what comes to yuh mind?
RHESE: “Get on bad, no behaviour, leh go, misbehave, loose, do yuh own ting”, to list a few things.
BRENDA: Yes, ‘do yuh own ting’, dat is Freedom. But how do we do we own ting?
RHESE: Well, we free to do what we want. We could get on bad if we want.
BRENDA: I guess, but we have to always bear in mind that, as children of God, we are made in His image and likeness and that He has given us a FREE WILL. Therefore, we can choose to ‘misbehave’ or ‘get on bad’ or have a grand time without losing our self-dignity.
RHESE: Aunty B, yuh know that is true. But people always talkin bout how women behave or misbehave but yuh know something? They never talk bout the men. I see men also misbehaving. They too must have integrity in their behaviour.
BRENDA: So true, so true. Very observant chile.
RHESE: Aunty B, yuh know how I like to read, and since our discussion last week I did some research and one of the positives of ‘We Carnival’ is “the recognition of the human need to recreate. To play. To suspend the superficial world of commerce, gossip and politics for a time, and let deeper values predominate.”
BRENDA: Well done chile! Where yuh get dat from? You could educate yuh friends.
RHESE: Ha, ha! I got that from a Newsday article of January 1, 2010. It also said that at Carnival time something extraordinary occurs in the nation. Barriers fall. Rank ceases to matter. All this is good but, as you say Aunty, ‘Integrity is Freedom’. Now I understand, it is that we are at liberty to enjoy ourselves but with integrity, meaning respect for ourselves and others and being responsible for all our actions.
BRENDA: Good chile, so what suggestions you could come up with to improve ‘We Carnival’. Doesn’t matter how small.
RHESE: Yuh know what? We could introduce kaiso or calypso in our curriculum just like pan, all year round. Why not have Kiddies calypso tents! Introduce Wire Bending and Costume Making as topics in the Art and Craft syllabus! Have Extempo competitions for children! Make available funding for schools that choose to train Moko Jumbies! Employ experts in the art of Robber
Talk and Pierrot Grenade Speeches to teach children, beginning from the primary schools!
BRENDA: Darling, that’s quite a mouthful. I want to leave with these words from an article by Leela Ramdeen, Chair of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice, “Let us not be absorbed by a culture that urges us ‘to get on bad’ in a manner that causes us to forget that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
RHESE: Aunty, listen to what I wrote:-
Integrity is Freedom
Freedom to choose; NOT to get on loose.
Freedom to enjoyment; NOT to wild abandonment.
Freedom to dress modestly; NOT to expose your body.
Freedom to drink but NOT to the extent that you cannot think.
FREEDOM as one participates
Play Mas with Word and Associates.
BRENDA: Well done! After all we have discussed let us go out there and enjoy ‘We Carnival’.
– Julie Jennings-Chan, CERO – Central Vicariate, www.catechetics.rcpos.org