What Of Standards?


As a child it was thought that every home, school and community had standards. If a child did something wrong at school, the teacher was free to scold them. If your parents were informed, you got scolded again right there in school or as soon as you got home. If you did something on your way home and a community member saw you, they were free to scold you and when you got home and they made a report to your parents you would be reprimanded again. Tuesday, October 14 is World Standards Day and as I look around, I wonder, to what standards are Jamaicans adhering?

One definition of standards is, “those morals, ethics, habits, etc., established by authority, custom, or an individual as acceptable.” Once upon a time in our Island home, Jamaica, there were standards to which most of our citizens adhered. Neighbours were respectful of each other; each neighbour tried to live in harmony with the other. The whole community cared for each other. The children and the elderly were well taken care of by the whole community. Individuals had manners. People greeted each other when they saw them. It was not unusual to see a man tipping his hat to the women he passed on the road saying “good morning” and they responding as they passed each other. Children would pass by saying “good evening Miss Mattie” and Miss Mattie would respond to them further inquiring about their welfare. People worked together and were careful how they spoke to each other. No, it was not utopia, there were some war boats, but they were in the minority as the whole community tried to maintain peace and order.

During that era, people were careful how they dressed. Much was left to the imagination. People who were not rich were careful to be clean, neat and tidy in their dress. They were also not revealing. Both men and women believed that it meant something to save their wares for revealing to that special someone in their lives. It was not on show for everyone to see.

There is a popular saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”. What a crash the world has experienced. Our own little Jamaica is overrun with communities and individuals who have become so selfish. Care is only for me and mine. If someone hurts us or one of our own, we no longer seek to talk it out. Our negotiations now involve the gun and the knife. If we cannot get the individual who harmed us directly, we think nothing of wiping out other members of their family. Sometimes even when we find that individual we kill them, their families and their animals. We seek to our own good and we care nothing for the welfare of others. Our communications are disrespectful and we don’t care what we say to anyone, be it the elderly or children. We now walk around with all parts of our bodies exposed and this revelation includes both sexes.

God’s standard as outlined in Eccl.12:13-14 declares “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, Fear God and keep His Commandments for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgement with every secret thing whether it be good or whether it be evil.”

The standard that God holds before us is the Ten Commandments. The lawyer that came to Jesus in St. Matt.22:35 asking him which was the greatest commandment of all. Jesus responded, that it was love of God firstly, and then secondly love of neighbour. It is as we learn to love that we will return to standards of the word of God. The first four commandments teach us love of God and the next six teach us love of neighbour. When we love God and our neighbours, we will love ourselves. We will not hurt the people we love. In spite of what is preached in many pulpits today, Jamaica, indeed the world need to return to the Standards of God. The Ten Commandments!