“The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” – Psalm 145:8-9
It was reported in the Rotary International News that Rotary International President-elect Dong Kurn Lee addressed incoming district governors at the January 2008 International Assembly, urging them to use their resources to help curb child mortality. Lee said he was in disbelief when he learned that 30,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, measles, and malaria. He added that when he became President in July 2008 the theme for the year would be to Make Dreams Real for the world’s children and that this would be his challenge for all Rotarians. President D.K. Lee urged Rotarians to keep the service emphases of recent years — water, health, hunger, and literacy — but asked them to focus their efforts in each of these areas on children. We are fortunate in the Caribbean region that we are, on average, not at the bottom of the human development totem pole but there are pockets of decay which need urgent attention. What is certainly true is that whatever our actual state of “water, health, hunger, and literacy” we can always seek to improve, we can close the gap between reality and full potential. We must never rest on our laurels. As this gap is closed then the socio-economic well being of our children is improved which converts directly and collectively to a sustainable nation and a sustainable region. Rotary International (RI) statistics reveal that there are 532 Districts, over 33,270 Clubs, over 1,231,483 Rotarians, over 170,108 Rotaractors (youth) and 266,915 Interactors (still at school) in the Rotary fraternity. Now that the Rotary year is coming to an end, the RI President will report on the stewardship of his administration at the annual RI Conference in Birmingham England in June 2009. What difference have Rotarians made over the last year and what are the plans for the future? Certainly if the young people are secure then the future is secured. Rotary is providing leadership to ensure that the young people are healthy and wise and that our future is in good hands. But alas, that is not enough, we need all hands on deck and hands with positive minds. In one of Brian Griffith’s “Jewels for the Day” last week there was a quote from John F. Kennedy which stated “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by sceptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by obvious realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never were”. The adults too, must perform. Jestacia Jones is a heralded and highly sought-after speaker, public presentation coach, and President of J’lore International. Jestacia is a minister, author, and servant leader who worked as an educator in the fashion and beauty industry for almost two decades, assisting clients to enhance their true beauty from the inside out. An Atlanta, Georgia news release (May 7, 2009) reported on an article she authored entitled “Recession Presents Opportunity for Lifestyle Change”. She was advising on juggling life’s obligations in tough times. She said “The current global economic crisis presents an opportunity for time-deprived professionals to embark on a lifestyle of balance and well-being which can lead to longevity and prosperity”. Also the author of “The Ministry of Mind, Body and Spirit,” she believes all periods of crisis present an opportunity to make a lasting change for the better. “If we keep saying the economy is bad, and not learn about changing our current condition, things will continue to look bad based on the negative world view we adopt,” says Jones, who believes God always turns things around for those who believe according to their faith. I can empathise with this because I always advise my clients to take a positive approach to business development. If you focus positively you will get positive results. If you focus negatively you will get negative results. It is the same law. She notes that the telltale signs of an unbalanced lifestyle include constant anxiety, short temperedness, feeling rushed and overwhelmed, being dismissive of co-workers’ views and opinions, and a dysfunctional family life. “If you notice these things and never ‘check-in,’ you will literally self-destruct. If you do not have time to pray and spend quality time with your family, you must let something go,” she warns adding, “Once your core breaks down, sickness and disease can set in and break down the body.” By the way, we have a very specific challenge in the Caribbean which consists of a number of small territories, each of them with sovereign status and all signatories to a Caribbean Community treaty. They attempt to behave as if the Community were a sovereign government. It is not. There is therefore a tendency to build the roof first, not fully admitting that it will not stand firm until the supporting pillars are first in place. We need to strengthen those individual pillars, working in harmony before we try to put the roof over our heads (politicians willing). We have a divine governance guarantee that “The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” – let us take the risk and develop our children – what more do we want – why are we waiting?