July 4, 2018
I am writing with reference to a letter written by Mr. Henry Young, Sr. in this newspaper dated June 23, 2018, (pg. 7) in which he recommended that my book, To Educate a Nation: Autobiography of Andres P. and Jane V. Enriquez, should be a required reading for all; especially for teachers. His recommendation is an honor for which I am very grateful.
Hopefully, the Ministry of Education as well as Principals and teachers of primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions will heed his advice and seek to deepen their awareness of our nation’s rich history. Indeed, our teachers cannot continue to remain apathetic about various aspects of our nation’s history – including our political, cultural, social and economic history. Promoting the knowledge of Belize’s history is so important for nurturing well-informed citizens, and for providing valuable insights for current and future generations.
It is the lack of historical understanding that often results in strong emotional attachments to opinions, illusions and distorted beliefs, with an ill-informed conviction that these are facts. As Marcus Garvey warned, “A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” An anonymous historian also reminds: “To know nothing of what happened before you took your place on earth is to remain a child forever and ever.” In other words, those who live rootless lives by not seeing the interconnections between past, present and future, or by not being grounded to the lessons of history (especially those in education and leadership or who aspire to leadership) can often perpetuate falsehoods and cause a lot of damage by misleading others.
Thank you very much, Mr. Young, for reminding the nation about the importance of this book and the snapshot it presents of the tremendous sacrifices that many teachers and their families made since the late 1800s to build the foundation of the education system in Belize. The life stories that are shared can stimulate deeper discussions about our national experience and further unveil much more of our nation’s yet undocumented histories and “her-stories”.
I also take this opportunity to express heartfelt gratitude to health and wellness counsellor Ms. Lucia Ellis; University of Belize lecturer and Doctoral candidate, Mr. John Nunez, M.B.E.; and Belizean author and poet, Ms. Ivory Kelly, M.A.; for publishing insightful reviews about this book in the Amandala shortly after it was launched in mid-November last year. Thanks also to those who called on various morning shows over the past few months to encourage others to read this book.
These few weeks of school vacation break are a good time for teachers and students to catch up on their reading as part of their own personal and professional development.
Jeremy (Jerry) A. Enriquez