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Opinions of Friday, 10 January 2014

Columnist: Quarshie, Ellis

We have divine responsibility in shaping the lives of our youth

- Dr. Ellis Quarshie

Ghanaians in the diaspora have been called upon to help shape the lives of our youth because it is our divine and moral responsibility. The advice was given by Dr. Ellis Quarshie who was the guest speaker at the 2013 Christmas Party of the Brong Ahafo Association of Calgary, Canada during the Christmas holidays. Speaking on the topic “Our Youth, Our Future, Dr. Quarshie was of the view that we should not cripple our youth with low expectations and negative stereotypes while sowing seed of self–entitlement rather than independence and creative thoughts. He admonished parents in the diaspora to “undertake to prepare our youth to succeed in a highly competitive, technologically advanced society that rewards intellect and tenacity, not slothfulness and irresponsibility”. According to Dr, Ellis Quarshie, who is also the CEO & Executive Director of the Stoney Health Services in Morley near Calgary, Alberta, told the gathering that “our charge is to prepare our youth to see a future that is bigger and brighter than each of them”, cautioning that they must know that from cradle to the grave, they are on collision course with greatness, not failure.

Dr. Ellis Quarshie who was the 1992 recipient of the Governor-General Award (Commemorative Medal) for recognition of his outstanding contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada, challenged the audience to unchain the spirits of the youth. He continued by saying that we should release our youth from bondage that holds them captive in the form of music, videos, degrading speech, lack of respect for authority and shameful street conduct that has caused violent behaviour to escalate and prison doors to swing open. To him, “attraction to thug life must be replaced with love for successful life”.

The speaker a former program director of the Calgary Young Offender Centre in 1984 stated that “we can no longer allow negative images they (the youth) see and hear feed into their spirits, we cannot allow negative habits or urban culture which encourages baggy pants, unkempt hair and live for today, damn tomorrow attitude to continue to be pervasive and persuasive”. Dr. Quarshie opined that we should teach our youth our history especially that of our leaders like Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela and others who sacrificed so much for the creation of our New Africa continuing that our youth must embrace positive role models and images of success that will demand respect from individuals from all walks of life as they climb their personal ladders of success. Still on education Dr. Quarshie charged the gathering to teach our children to dream and create positive visions. “Let us help them to choose the human race over the guns and gangsterism, let us teach them to bury the weapons and not to burn the people”. He concluded by stating that” I refuse to stand by and let our children become part of the first generation to do worse than their parents, I don’t want my child or your child to be part of a country that’s splitting apart instead of coming together”.

The Chairman of the association, Augustine Boahen in his welcome address said 2014 has been declared Year of the Youth by the association and encouraged members to help change the lives of our youth so that our youth today will be our leaders tomorrow. The night was full of fun, food and entertainment with DJ Kofi Yeboah and DJ Omar controlling the music.