A positive example
Stabroek News
December 2, 2003

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According to a report in the Catholic Standard Ms Aslin Douglas, the mother of Yohance, a university student who was killed by the police in an incident now before the courts, recently graduated with first class honours with a Bachelor in Education, specialising in school administration. She is the principal of the Sea View nursery school.

Ms Douglas, a busy woman who finds time to do charitable work, told the Standard that she prays for a spirit of forgiveness towards those responsible for her son's death. Another son, Orin, and his wife Nerissa, a Filipino medical technician, have just had a second child. "My daughter-in-law has insisted on naming their son Yohance and I'm really looking forward to visiting them shortly to share in their joy," she said.

What can we learn from this remarkable woman who was loudly acclaimed by the gathering when she went forward to receive her diploma? Many things. First, that it is possible to press on and achieve despite great personal disaster. It would have been so easy to succumb to self pity, to blame the world, to give up. Instead, she found the strength of character to carry on despite her suffering, and to continue to help others. It is a remarkable example.

We can also be taught by her example that we can continue to learn and to become more productive at any age. We are capable of many things if we put our minds to it. So much of the aimlessness and frustration one sees is the result of a failure to focus on anything, to take up any challenge however humble, to accept responsibility for one's own destiny.

Perhaps the most important lesson we can learn is that we have the capacity to forgive past wrongs, however grievous, and to emerge stronger, wiser and more humane. That is a lesson of the greatest national significance.