Looking on the bright side Editorial
Stabroek News
December 8, 2001

At a time when we read every day of war, suicide bombers, threats of biological terrorism and other worrying things it is easy to forget the good, positive things that continue to make up the daily lives of so many people.

Social workers devote their time and energy to helping the disabled, nuns run orphanages, dedicated teachers in the most difficult circumstances use their wit and imagination to educate their pupils, parents make sacrifices to look after their children, a voluntary organisation distributes books to schoolchildren and communities throughout the country, there is unselfish, devoted and often unrecognised activity at so many levels and in so many fields.

Life is more bearable and more productive if we can achieve a positive mindset It is useful to try to think of what can be done to improve things, in however small a way, rather than giving up in despair. Light a candle, don't curse the darkness.

Perhaps the most serious problem we face today as a young country is the loss of hope, a deep alienation, a desire to seek greener pastures elsewhere. None of us can solve the problems of the society, the ethnic insecurity, the economic underdevelopment, the educational backwardness. But we can solve the problems of our own heads, we can try to think clearly and positively, we can have an effect in our own, small circle, we can encourage people rather than criticise them and we can stand up for things we believe in. And sometimes there are ripple effects.

The problem of development begins with ourselves and our attitudes just as the problem of democracy begins in the home. We can't help develop our country if we haven't worked out our own position and understood exactly where we stand and what we are prepared to do and to contribute, just as we can't call ourselves democrats if we abuse our spouses or our children.

Everything starts with us and our attitudes.

We enjoy a wonderful climate and large rivers. We are not over-populated. We do not suffer from earthquakes or hurricanes though our coastlands may in the future be threatened by rising waters because of global warming. There is much to celebrate, even or especially our variety. Do we have the mental or spiritual strength to tackle our own man made social and political problems? Certainly each of us can make a start on our own. Think positively. The next time someone says all is lost discuss this with him or her. He or she may himself or herself be doing positive things in various areas which shows that their actions belie their words. They have not lost hope, they are just worried or pessimistic. Create a little pool of optimism in your own vicinity, look on the bright side, who knows where it may lead.