Maintain Your Heritage
The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands has dedicated the month of October as National Heritage month. I love this initiative but year after year, our culture and heritage have diminished because we are not maintaining it and so all we do is talk about what we used to do in the yesteryear during Heritage Month. I agree that culture evolves but there are some things we must maintain to identify who we are. Many other countries have been able to maintain their culture and heritage but somehow it appears we assume the culture of other countries rather than us maintaining what we were used to.
For this article, I will used Daniel, an Israelite, as an example. Even though Daniel’s name was changed to a Babylonian name, Belteshazzar, Daniel remained firm in his beliefs as an Israelite. Daniel refused to eat the royal food and wine. In addition, a decree was passed that anyone that prayed to any God except Your Majesty will be thrown in the lions’ den. However, despite this decree, Daniel continued to pray three times a day to God. He maintained his heritage.
The Christian Heritage
Many individuals identify themselves as Christians but our actions do not reflect the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. If you are a Christian, you do not have to broadcast the fact that you are a Christian. The way you conduct yourself will identify you as a Christian. Nowadays, you cannot easily distinguish between a Christian and a Non- Christian and that is very sad. Some Christians are now following the standards of the world and in so doing have allow the world to influence to them how they should live when the Bible is the reference guide on Christian living. No wonder why it is a challenge winning souls for the Kingdom of God because our identity as Christians do not reflect the way we live.
Like Daniel, we must stand firm in our Christian faith and we must ensure that we lead by example and the Bible is taught at home and school. Yes we live in this world but that does not mean we have to do and believe what the world does.
The Citizen Heritage
The culture and heritage of a citizen is our way of living; the way we talk, the way we cook, the way we dress and the way we celebrate different occasions. While we are living in modern times, we should not discontinue our local heritage. We should pass our culture and heritage from generation to generation. This is an aspect I love about Jamaica. While working at Cable and Wireless, I used to travel frequently and one of those places was Jamaica. Every hotel I stayed to was serving Jamaican food only. In the Turks and Caicos Islands, you can hardly find local food on the menu at any of our resorts. While I appreciate and respect all nationalities, we have allowed the culture of other nationalities to dominate the Turks and Caicos.
We must not be easily influence by others to change what we believe in for our beliefs are part of our culture and heritage. We must ensure that our culture and heritage are part of our educational curriculum. Why is it that when we migrate to other countries, we are able to adopt to their culture so quickly but when other nationalities migrate to the Turks and Caicos, they maintain their culture? I remember in the past we were able to easily identify a Turks and Caicos Islander but now we cannot. Likewise, we were able to identify a Christian but now it is a challenge. Even some Christians have broken away from the faith because of their lack of patience, lack of faith and what others tell them what they read and say. They did not maintain their beliefs and faith in God because they were unstable in their ways.
It is time we behave like Daniel. Do not be easily persuaded to change your identity.