What a stupid girl!
Journalists are taught to run after stories that are novel and will catch the attention of the public’s eye. They successfully caught the attention of the Jamaican public on May 6, 2019 with the headline that read: “What a stupid girl: Angry mother curses daughter for handing over large amount of money she found.”
We were lured in to hear what could have led this 24 year old mother of two to return what appeared to be millions. The article recounts how the young mother went into the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to transact business, she then sees her baby playing with a large bag, she later realized to be a large sum of cash. She immediately carried it to the authorities where it was returned.
The young lady quickly resolved in her heart that keeping the money “was not right!” This simple admission spoke volumes to her integrity. The noble act by this young woman found both praise and ridicule from Jamaicans, as this story became a hot topic for a few days. With her mother being on the side of ridicule, saying to the press that “she is the stupidest of all my children,” sharing how it was that very morning her daughter had begged her some money to send one her children to school. The young mother stood resolute that she had made the right decision.
Change in cultural fabric
I am blessed to be born in an island that our rules, customs and mores were explicitly founded on Christian principles. We boldly call ourselves a Christian nation, albeit less loudly in recent times, but the common man on the street will walk around with a small Gideon bible in his back pocket and say the requisite prayer for guidance each morning.
Though this is a watered down version of Christianity, I believe we are in a much better place than other nations who are outrightly atheistic. This is because within our nation’s history was woven the truth of scripture. We are however coming to realize more and more the degradation of our morality, which is being caused by many variables. The outworking of this is seen through corruption,crime,dishonouring the sanctity of life and many other themes that pervade the day to day conversations of our people.
I believe too that the volume of conversations that condemned the honourable act of this young mother, reflect a nation in decay, where right is no longer an obvious thing. Though there were many applauding her, there were also quite a few who openly admitted they would have taken the cash.
Honesty is the best policy!
I believe honesty is one of those attributes that speak to the soul of a nation’s people. We see the lack of it in Jamaica permeating every sphere, and this has almost become the norm. When truth becomes situational rather than absolute, we conjure up instances that we believe justify dishonesty.
I had a conversation with a young lady about the situation. She said, I know you’re a Christian, but would you really give back the money? I said yes and she looked at me in disbelief. She went on and on about what she’d do with the money; all legitimate and wonderful things, being a young mother who’s also in a rough spot. I immediately thought, why is this even a point of contention?
I quickly reasoned that I might have been tempted, but I too would quickly give up the money because I honour God and I honour people. I have that reference point and appreciation, but is it fair to expect the same from those who don’t? I don’t necessarily think so, but if we are to look at it from the view of what is beneficial for the sustenance of a people, what would divert anarchy and civil war, I believe we’d land right back on the principles of scripture. “Do to others as you’d have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
If we are to objectively view the benefit of living honestly and not make exceptions for convenient cases, we’d see a nation whose moral compass is rightly aligned, thus producing order, productivity and respect.
A culture of honesty
There is still hope! The subsequent stories in the last few weeks surrounding the young mother’s act, brought hope that outshone the negativity that usually pervades our headlines. “Woman who returned ATM cash gets $1.2 million Wray and Nephew gift” “Digicel joins thrust to reward woman who turned over ATM cash” and “Senate to recognise woman who returned ATM cash,” are a few of the headlines we saw. Corporate Jamaica honoured this young woman for her gesture of integrity by providing her with money and a scholarship to pursue a skill that will benefit her and her family.
Though we might not like to admit it, media shapes a lot of how we think, and I believe that the explosion of this kind deed, will reiterate to Jamaicans, that honesty is still honourable.
Jhonelle Grant is from the West Indies - is a Jesus enthusiast and Christian youth leader. She’s a lover of all things related to discipleship and a freelance writer.
Jhonelle is a Jesus enthusiast and Christian youth leader. She’s a lover of all things related to discipleship and a freelance writer.