Gratitude in 56 Years of Jamaican Independence.

Map of Jamaica Copyright Steccati (2009;

“We likkle but we tallawah!”

It has become one of Jamaica’s most popular phrases used to explain why even though we are a little island in the sun, we are truly stronger together. For more about Jamaican phrases you can check out my sistah’s blog on the topic at

But, as we look back on 56 years of coming of age in Jamaica, I want to use another saying that may capture where we are as Jamaicans across the world. It is simply:

“Mi live fi see de pickney dem pass de worse.”

What does this mean? It is often a statement made by proud Jamaican parents who have raised their children into adulthood, and who can now step back and breathe a lot easier because all the investments are returning dividends. It means that they celebrate life knowing that it was all worth it – from the joys of birth, the rough-housing of childhood, the pitfalls of adolescence, to being the bridge to work, family, and a little bit of relaxation. These proud Jamaican parents know that should anything happen to them, they do not have to worry about how their children will survive.

So, on Jamaica’s 56th Independence Day, we look back and acknowledge 56 years of a journey growing up from Mother England to being the regional and global force that we are today. Like every parent looking at their adult child, you might recognize the flaws in the façade if you look too closely. If you were there from the beginning and you remember such childhood innocence and perfection, it is often hard to look through the nicks and dings that have occurred with maturity. Yet, the eyes of the sages cannot miss the inherent beauty that has been formed in transformation shining powerfully.

Today, I celebrate with my fellow Jamaicans across the world on the things that make us proud. They are:

1. The resilience of the person.
2. The commitment to the task.
3. The dreams that call us forward.
4. The legacy that we will leave behind.

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Photos courtesy of Jakob Owens, Romello Williams, Evianna Santiago, Kevin Sanon, Lakeisha Bennett, Marc Babin

As Jamaicans at home and abroad celebrate 56 years of nationhood with all our friends, let us remember that we have indeed come this far by faith. The journey is not over. The legacy is still being written. So, let’s join hands and hearts once again and prayerfully sing,

“Eternal Father bless our land,
Guard us with Thy Mighty Hand,
Keep us free from evil powers,
Be our light through countless hours.
To our Leaders, Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.
Teach us true respect for all,
Stir response to duty’s call, strengthen us the weak to cherish,
Give us vision lest we perish.
Knowledge send us Heavenly Father,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.” (Hugh Sherlock, Robert Lightbourne, Mapletoft Poulle, & Christine Poulle,1961).

Photo courtesy of Amy Humphries

Nature’s bounty is just around the corner. See other offerings at Teachers, enjoy a special offering in For a Teacher’s Heart.

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