Jamaican cultural values and its moral values as they are today in comparison to how they were in the past will never be the same. In life, change is constant, whether its technology, cultural or moral values, nothing stays the same. Many people say, “How sweet life was back in the days”, then they take out their mobile phone.
How great would life be if everyone could have the best of both worlds? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Imagine if society puts in the same amount of force to keep cultural and moral values together as they do to ensure the progression of technology. Oh what a wonderful world it would be, the gatekeepers of integrity would be on high alert. It would become a place where helping your neighbors build up and not self destruction would be the right thing to do.
Well, fortunately and unfortunately, just like the rest of the world, Jamaican cultural and moral values are constantly changing. Some changes are for the better even though the demands in society have increased. The pressure on the people are causing more reaction with every action.
Luckily, Jamaica is keeping up with the global necessities and the ever changing world, just to stay competitive. Unfortunately in doing so, some of the cultural and moral values are being left behind. The generation growing up in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s were held at a higher standard. Many Jamaican children of the 50s, 60s and 70s grew up with their grandparent. Their parents went out to work locally on the island while others migrated mostly to the United Kingdom and other parts of the world seeking a better way of life.
As a result, early Jamaican children cultural and moral values were tied to 18thcentury tradition. Back then, children were raised by their grandparents. In addition, the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child” was absolutely the truth. Children were held t0 a higher standard by adults. Adults instilled moral values and expected the children to do the right thing even when no one was looking. We can remember our grandparents Peter and Olive Hinds, living on Lucky Hill Farm in St. Mary. One of the requirements to live on the farm was that couples had to be married.
Peter & Olive Hinds and grand children
In the 50s, 60s, and most part of the 70s, especially in the non urban parts of the island (the country), it’s our personal experience that having respect for your elders were the rule. Having respect for your teachers and ministers were the rule and been raised by the village was definitely the rule. I know people as well as our family members who were given a beating / spanking by our grand-parents because an elder or a teacher said we /they did not follow a rule. However, what was once the rule in Jamaican cultural and moral values are now the exceptions. The cultural and moral standards as we once knew, no longer exists. As times changed and more grandparents needing to work to support their cost of living, so have the cultural gaps and moral values in society.
Jamaican culture can be divided into two broad categories in our opinion. There are the city people and the country people. As the saying goes, “You are a product of your environment.” People tensed to adapt the ways and thinking of their surroundings which separates the people living in the city versus the country. People have often said, “A city is a city, is a city.” Many people living in New York City and the city of Kingston Jamaica has certain similarities versus the people living in the country parts of South Carolina USA and in the country in St. Mary, Jamaica. Jamaican cultural and moral values remain very different in the city than they are in the country.
Much appreciation on how far Jamaica’s infrastructure came in the last thirty years. Unfortunately, globally and in Jamaica, cultural and moral values are being compromised. The integrity gap between the city and the country are getting much closer than years past. Many baby-boomers and children of the new generation are not able to have the family times that are required to teach and uphold cultural values. Parents are working longer hours and family times are getting shorter. Gone are the days of stay at home mom and grand-mother. Many children are growing themselves up by spending their times watching TV and playing video games. And in many instances, it makes better sense than wondering in the streets.
Fortunately, life is constantly changing and teaching cultural and moral values lies in the hands of each household. The great news is that people will continue to teach their children so there is hope. Adults and parents still have a role to play to ensure their children grow with respect. The future still remains bright and as the saying goes, where there is life there is hope. Teaching respect for others and love thy neighbor as thyself is the cultural and moral values which will help Jamaica to shine bright again.