Letters to the Editor

The love of football, children and God

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Do you like or love football? This was a question posed to the embattled president of the Phoenix All-Stars Football Academy, Craig Butler, during a call-in sports radio talk show recently. What was a most profound question was written off by Butler as a “fool-fool question” from a simpleton.

I wish to ask the same question about our institution of education to our ministry officials, teachers and other stakeholders as it pertains to the newly introduced replacement for the Grade Six Achievement Tests (GSAT), the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams. Do we love our children in regard to their educational development? For no matter how masterful one is at his craft, without that sincere passion for it, it just will not get to that 'next level'.

However, before we assert our love for education, or football, we ought to first acknowledge what love means. When Jesus repeatedly asked his disciple, Peter, if he loved Him, much to the annoyance of Peter, Jesus told him what to do as part of this love, which was to feed His (Jesus's) figurative sheep. The wider inclusivity and the focus on aptitude, rather than academic performance, sounds like love to me. What I would further suggest is that systems also be put in place to identify specially gifted children, such as those with extrasensory perception a (ESP) nd the like.

We have to better appreciate, recognise, protect, nurture, retain, and utilise the gifts that God has given to our babes to develop the Jamaican society. All too often these gifted individuals either find themselves on the wrong side of the law, exercising their abilities mainly on games of chance, hiding those gifts for fear of being ridiculed and persecuted, getting adopted by more resourceful foreign countries, unhappy in jobs that don't match or are below their potential, or just simply allowed to grow it out. Perhaps this is the same concern that Butler has as it relates to Jamaican football. Perhaps, this was the same concern Jesus had as it relates to His disciples, apostles and believers of His imminent Kingdom. We, however, have to keep it “Jamaican”, keep it real, and keep it humble, like a babe.

Andre O Sheppy

Norwood, St James





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