Features — 19 November 2016 — by Charles X Hyde
“Tithing” for our children, for our teachers

Christmas is coming. A season of love and giving and sharing. It is no time for fighting. Our beloved teachers have done their part already; standing up for all of us, to bring back good governance to our precious Jewel, and thus to improve the lives and safety of all our children. We are all proud of their brave and gallant stand, and appreciate the tremendous sacrifice and risk they have taken on all our behalf.

Now back in the classroom, our teachers are committed to help our children catch up with the lost days from their time of striking for the good of the nation. They need our love and support now, more than ever. Now is certainly not the time for our teachers to be distracted and disheartened in their task of teaching our children, for them to be worrying about making ends meet, and trying to see their Christmas.

We citizens who pledged our support, we now have to put our money where our mouths were.

If the Government cannot pay, or simply refuses to pay, then perhaps we should all share the burden to help our teachers with some of their lost salary. “Many hands make the burden light.” How can we expect them to give their best to our children in class, while there is a pain in their heart, not only from the stress of making ends meet with the big salary cut, but with the unkindest cut of all — broken hearts from knowing that the rest of us, who said we support their stand, cannot find it in ourselves to help them face this massive month-end pay cut, while we all stand to benefit from the fruits of their sacrifice?

I can’t feel this Christmas, if our teachers are left out in the cold like this.

Some of our churches have a practice of tithing, where church members are asked to give 10 per cent (1/10) of their earnings to the church, and trust that it will be used for a righteous cause. That’s a bit high, but some actually do it.

This month, how about us all helping to ease the burden of our valiant teachers by giving a little, whatever we can afford, towards a fund for our teachers’ Christmas “make-up bonus” for the drastic salary cut (almost one-half) that they are enduring on the instructions of our Minister of Education.

The Ministry has singled out the striking teachers for punishment and salary cut; so it is those teachers only that our efforts will be directed to assist.

If every union member or working citizen of Belize – employees of every private business or firm, or government department or NGO, from every district – every one of us, including you, yes, you and you and you; if we all go to Heritage Bank and make our little deposit – $5.00, $10.00, $25.00, $50.00, etc. – into account #1080719 of BNTU, then our teachers will be happy for Christmas, and Belize will be a better place. We can do it, people. I already did, and I feel better already. Will you join me, and let us make this 2016 Christmas one to remember forever; for our children, for our teachers, for Belize?

A Happy Garifuna Settlement Day to all! And remember, giving is healing.

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