Investing in Our Pole Vault

One of my pleasures in life is to spend the better part of a Sunday with a bunch of really interesting Jamaican guys. We have given ourselves the label; bald-head rastas to poke fun on what age has done to us. What global warming is doing to the glaciers, age is doing to most of our hairlines. We gather on a quarterly basis, and attempt to nyam the establishment out of business.  It is a Jamaican buffet, all you can eat that opens around Sunday brunch time. We usually get there around 11 and close the place at 4 pm. Since we have started, we have seen the price nearly double, reflecting the damage we may be doing. But it ok, we are mostly “spread the wealth” around guys.  In between throwing down some ackee and salt fish on Johnnie cakes, we pretend to be elders in the gate, and share our varied wisdom.   The golden rule is what is shared there, stays there! We want folks to be real.

With that restriction, I did not want to talk out of school, so I go their permission to share an issue deep on all these gents hearts.

We recount our days in high school a lot.  We remember fifth form, the rivalries between schools on an academic basis, and when being a geek was the way to the girl’s heart. Yes, there was a day when brain power was sexy! We shared our concern on how boys are falling way behind and the dire implication for Jamaica ’s future.

Some blame the ascendancy of feminism with the pendulum swing favoring girls. Some blame the demise of the nuclear family in Jamaica .  Only 15% of our families are intact. Some blame the prominence of music stars being the only role model that most kids experience. Some recounted the positive impact of a male teacher or coach. Male figures in education are becoming as rare as a care-free day in Spanish Town .

Yet, education, and being competitive in a global economy are tightly coupled together.

The lead story in the Gleaner on this past Friday was “Fear grips schools – Students dread abduction; education ministry establishes security measures”.  This is so distant from our experience. We cannot however remain nostalgic given the consequence of such an atmosphere. Great learning takes place in a secure environment.

Let’s think about how we can have positive impact here.  Your turn; share your thoughts!