Legacy, Samoa today and fathers

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

We’ve come a long way. As a people, a nation, we have a lot to thank our forebears. You see with their God-given wisdom, they navigated the unknown, cracked mysteries only science and experts can explain these days and did so many things the mind can only marvel about. 

How on earth did they know the time for palolo rising? Who taught them how to read the moon, tides and the trees? Unfathomable.

Indeed, they were the visionaries, the courageous leaders who pioneered the way forward through the difficult times to establish the platform upon which we enjoy Samoa as it is today. 

Despite its problems – and we have plenty like everywhere else in the world – this is home for us. We are called to this place. 

As a proud Samoan, I’d say this is a beautiful slice of paradise gifted to us to care for so we can pass it down to the next generation. We are here for a purpose. We are the guardians and custodians of this slice of paradise. 

While we do not have an abundance of natural resources, we have inherited land, which is our treasure to protect for life. 

Why? Everything is connected to the land. We are connected to the land. We are one with the land. Which means that if we lose our land, we lose everything we have. We lose our sense of connection, customs; our tu ma aga, core values, families, villages, our language. We lose ourselves.

Looking at the problems of today, the terms to think about from here onwards are legacy and hope. What legacy do we want to leave with the young generations of today? 

It is undeniable there are problems everywhere. The economies of the world are struggling. The environment is deteriorating as a result of mankind’s negligence and recklessness. 

There are pestilences left right and centre with the fear that they are getting worse by the day. What’s scary is that even at a time where we have so many intelligent people in the world, it’s almost like we are clueless to address the problems of today.

What about Samoa? What impact is the leadership of today having on this country? 

There is no denying the fact the leaders of both the past and today have played a major role in the development of Samoa and for that, we will forever be grateful. 

But let’s be honest with ourselves also because the facts are there for all to see and they are glaringly alarming.  It’s hard to ignore the feeling that at times, we’ve taken one step forward and several backwards. 

Our land is under threat from policies driven by desperation. According to the government, our customary lands are protected. Well that’s good, isn’t it? 

But let’s say a lease agreement is 99 years plus another 99, who lives that long? It means entire generations of some families will have nothing to do with that particular piece of land. And that – in our opinion – is just as bad as losing it completely. What’s the point of having land you cannot touch forever? Is that a legacy we want to leave? 

What about jobs? The truth about this particular issue is a badly kept secret. There are hardly any jobs. That’s why our people have resorted to being street vendors, beggars and thieves in some cases because they have no other option. Foreigners have flooded our country; they’ve taken over the shops and restaurants so that many of our people today are slaves in their own country? 

Is that a legacy we want to leave?

And then there is the disturbing issue of family violence. We’re talking about the endless abuse of women and children. How is that possible in a Christian country where people go to church every Sunday? Come to think of it, what are some of our men being taught that makes them think it’s okay to abuse their spouses?

We don’t need to look far. In our homes today, we shut our children’s eyes from a kissing scene on TV while we allow them to watch an Adults Only movie where one human is happily hacking away at another’s skull. Is that a legacy we want to leave? 

On this Sunday, we want you to think about the future of this country.  We want you to think about your children, my children and the Samoa they would inherit from us. 

We want to bless them and leave them with a legacy they can be proud of. We do not want our children, their children and their children’s children to grow up to beg with an insurmountable foreign debt over their heads, where they will find themselves second-class citizens in their own country. 

To determine the kind of future we want, good leadership is critical. Good leaders, we believe, not only leave a lasting legacy, they inspire hope. They ensure that those under their care are nurtured, protected and empowered to be blessings to many others.

From our standpoint, we believe great leaders embody the words empathy, vision, care, ethics, forgiveness, compassion and love. There is also much to be said about the legacy to empower the generations of tomorrow. We need to educate, inform and equip them to face the challenges of tomorrow so that they will not become overwhelmed and succumb to abysmal failure.

Does this sound like a role for fathers? Absolutely. 

This country needs fathers to stand up and be counted. Now.

Happy Father’s Day Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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