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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Pledge of Life


Do you remember those days in primary school when you had to recite the Jamaican National Pledge? 
Before God and All mankind
I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart...

As a child in primary school I can recall reciting the pledge with my left hand placed diagonally across my chest while standing uprightly. Have you ever thought who wrote the Jamaican National Pledge? One would wonder what frame of mind was this person in to pledge their love, the loyalty of their heart, the wisdom and courage of their mind, the strength and vigour of their body, their service to follow citizens, to stand up for justice, brotherhood and peace, to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly. Would you or could you allow a pledge to dictate they way you should live?

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Jamaica’s National Pledge was written by Sir Hugh Sherlock. Sir Hugh Braham Sherlock was born in Portland, Jamaica on the 21st of March 1905. He was educated at Beckford and Smith School (now St. Jago High School), Calabar High School and Caenwood Methodist Theological College in Jamaica. He founded the YMCA and the Boys' Town Sports Club in Jamaica. He was also a social worker, cricketer and a clergy man. He was a champion among underprivileged children. In 1962, he wrote the lyrics of Jamaica, Land We Love, which became Jamaica's National Anthem on Independence Day.

Like Sir Sherlock, we make daily decisions to become a better person. Some of us were taught to write down our goals on a paper or recite it daily. We then would visualize these goals day by day, taking the necessary steps to guarantee that they can be accomplished. However, to achieve a dream or fulfil a goal requires much discipline, perseverance, hard work and dedication.

...to work diligently and creatively...Hard work always pays off in the end. Never think about the long hours that you will have to put in get the work done. Instead think about the lives which you can impact or the benefits it will bring to your father in heaven, your family and to yourself. Creativity is like a precious software. Many yearn for it; but it cannot be bought nor sold, nor can be downloaded via the internet. This software already exists within each one of us; free of cost. All we have to do is activate it.

...to think generously and honestly...Husbands make a vow to their wives, police officers vow to protect and ensure that the laws of the country are upheld. We sometimes make pledges and don’t even know it. When you are employed to a firm, organization or institution, we sign contracts agreeing to their terms of condition. We excitedly follow all the rules, trying to please the boss. But some way along the line we “fall short”; slacking off here and there. Is it right?

Let’s pause for a moment and recall that promise we made; whether it was at school, work, church, or on the corner of the road while encountering an old friend. Let us stand to attention and proudly take that small step to reconstituting our pledge; a pledge of service, love, the loyalty of our heart, the wisdom and courage of our mind, the strength and vigour of our body, standing up for justice, brotherhood and peace (even when no one decides to), to work diligently and creatively, and to think generously and honestly, so that, Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty fellowship and prosperity, and play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

Mikki Clarke