EDITORIAL: BRIGHTENING THE CORNER WHERE YOU ARE
In Anguilla today, social media and radio programmes are rife with persons critiquing the actions of individuals, organisations and governments. I say governments because, in our typical fashion, we are not shy about offering views on how our regional and international brothers and sisters should be managing their affairs. Sadly, we often offer views which are not founded in fact or reality. The greatest travesty is, however, very often perpetuated when the unfounded views expressed gather followers who fail to take the time to consider the factual basis of the observations made; or how realistic the proposals being promulgated are. Regrettably, very often no consideration is given to the likely motivations of those who have determined that they have the answers to the problems that plague their ‘neighbours’, whether locally, regionally or internationally.
But what do we often observe when we closely examine the areas for which many of these self-appointed problem-solvers actually have responsibility? A reasoning person would tend to conclude that by virtue of the time and energies expended on offering viewpoints and advice to resolve their ‘neighbours’ problems, these persons must have their houses in near picture perfect order. Such reasoning is, however, very rarely borne out by the reality of the situation. Very often the persons spending significant time and energies critiquing the work of others are failing miserably in the management of their areas of responsibility. Anguilla’s small size and our intimate knowledge of persons’ areas of responsibility, and their performance in those areas, allow us to question whether persons have earned the right to venture out of their areas to offer guidance to others.
It should be accepted by all of us that we have a sphere of influence. Some of us have a greater sphere of influence than others. What we all have, however, are specific areas of responsibility, whether they be in our personal lives or by virtue of having been appointed to certain official positions. I would dare to suggest that our primary focus, before we venture into critiquing, examining or advising others, should be to bring our little corner of the world, for which we have specifically been accorded responsibility, as near to perfection as humanly possible.
The words of the first verse of the well-known hymn “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” are instructive in this regard. The verse reads:
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
The verse suggests that we limit our search for greatness and focus on matters which fall directly under our purview. Think how much more fulfilling it would be to contribute to the improvement of our island, the region and the world by adding a little positive growth and improvement to the little corner of the world for which, as individuals, we have responsibility, instead of merely critiquing the efforts of others in areas for which they have responsibility. To critique world, regional and local affairs for which we have no responsibility, while not attending to our little corner of the world, does nothing to add value to Anguilla, the region or the world. I would like to believe that in the midst of all the haranguing on social media, and on radio programmes, there is a deep-seated desire to bring about improvements. If this is indeed true, what better place to start to bring about improvements than in the area for which we have been accorded responsibility.
The first line of the last verse of the hymn “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” provides clear guidance to those of us who genuinely wish to make a real difference during our sojourn here on earth. It reads: “Here for all your talent you may surely find a need”. Simply put – our various talents can be put to good use wherever we are positioned.
As a people we are encouraged to engage in some self-reflection. If our motivations are truly to improve this world, we should be able to readily embrace the guidance offered in the words of the hymn – “Brighten the Corner Where You Are”. With renewed effort and focus we can truly play a meaningful role in ‘Anguilla’s unfinished revolution’.