“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” – “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” – Matthew 5:15 and 23:12.
I was moved to depart from the norm and introduce this column with two passages of scripture rather than one because both passages seem to be relevant to what I want to say. I was troubled though because the respective messages appeared to be paradoxical. I therefore thought that I would begin by attempting to resolve the paradox.
In the context of your own or your own family’s achievements, the first passage may be interpreted that if it is perceived there is something to be offered to the rest of the world you should not “put your light under a bushel” rather you should sing the praises of your achievements; whereas, the second passage is saying that if you sing the praises of your achievements, “you shall be humbled” and it is preferable to humble yourself and be exalted by others.
To be too brash in extolling the virtues of the achievements may be offensive to those receiving messages from your space; to be too silent may rob the world of information beneficial to mankind. A middle ground should be sought and I think that this is to be found, not so much in what we say as how we say it. This may indeed provide a resolution to the apparent paradox.
Last week I wrote about the impending launch, at the Barbados Workers’ Union headquarters, of the book “Truly a Gentleman” by Kean Springer. You may have detected a measure of Springer family pride. In writing the book, Kean tapped her archives of musical knowledge to erect an inspiring musical framework, compliments Johann Sebastian Bach, on which to hang the impressive periods of Hugh Springer’s exciting career at home and abroad. A synopsis of this style is: The Prelude – his early career in Barbados; The Fugue- his contribution to Caribbean and Commonwealth Education; The Coda – his return to Barbados as Governor General and the recognition as National Hero. This format was so captivating that almost every presenter at the launch, including yours truly, who gave the vote of thanks, either mentioned or incorporatedthis framework in his/her own presentation.
Now that the launch is an historical event, I am indeed overwhelmed by what a wonderful occasion it turned out to be based on the seemingly endless positive feedback which continues to pour in, directly and indirectly, from those scores of persons who were kind enough to grace us with their presence. The purchases of the book on the night were heartening and the post function orders were encouraging, even prior to the book reaching the shelves of the retail outlets.
The issue of the apparent paradox arises because I feel an urge to share my experience with the world. I shall therefore attempt to report, in the nicest possible way, on the comprehensive and inspiring contributions by those who formally participated at the launch without transcending the boundaries of humility.
It was a multi-faceted experience for the following reasons: (1) the first book to chronicle the life and times of Barbados’ third native Governor General and one of the island’s National Heroes, the Right Excellent Sir Hugh Springer; (2) the rationalisation and justification as to how Hugh Springer, as a behind the scenes administrator, coordinator and anchor man, can qualify with other more outspoken and aggressive personalities for the title of national hero; (3) before this book, most Barbadians were largely unaware of the accomplishments of the man; (4) an impressive assembly of persons from the many diverse areas in which Sir Hugh distinguished himself; (5) the observation that this Hugh Springer chronicle is a treasure box of information which lays the foundation for others to delve into for the further enlightenment of this nation; (6) the transformation of the image of “greatness” of Sir Hugh into a catalytic force to bond the labour union movement; (7) the skilful style of the author to incorporate a trend of autobiographical nuances, from his persons papers, into the biography; (8) the dexterity of the author to seamlessly weave the harmonic progressions from her musical forte into the fabric of another discipline to remind us of the common theme which underlies all cultural and literary expression; (9) an excellent work which should be required reading for all students, not only students of Caribbean history, as they enter the secondary school system; and (10) a motivator for those of humble origins to aspire to and reach the heights of self actualisation, while paving the road of opportunity for others along the way.
Another reason that moved me to depart from the norm and introduce this column with two passages of scripture, for the first time, was to mark the beginning of the 16th consecutive year of this weekly column. It is really a satisfying hobby and I would like to take this opportunity to thank those readers around the globe who take time to respond to the issues which are raised. I certainly have a wide ranging volume of material and responses which could be a researcher’s delight.