Time for young people to break the cycle of fearDecember 9th, 2010
Nicole Brown, a youth affairs professional from Jamaica, encourages fellow young people not to be intimidated by ‘those who appear to be greater’
I believe that in each and every one of us, there is something that we have to share with the world and what I want to share with the youth of the Commonwealth nations is the Jamaican saying that goes yuh likkle but yuh tallawah. In our language, the word tallawah means strong, so a basic translation of this saying would be, you may be small but you have great strength.
Jamaica, a mere blip on the world map, is a small nation of just 2.7 million people and come to think of it, at just over 4,000 square miles, you may not even be able to find it on some maps. However, despite our small size, we have been able to produce world changers such as Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley and of course, Usain Bolt.
‘Likkle but yuh tallawah’
In a world of over 6 billion people, this is quite an encouragement to small islanders much like myself. These individuals have brought worldwide attention to my tiny island and have been sources of hope and inspiration to the Jamaican people. When I look at these persons and other heroes that have come out of Jamaica, I realize that there is something that I can and must do to change the world and I would like to encourage you to do the same.
The Jamaican flag has become a wildly popular icon, particularly with the success of our 2008 Olympians but the colours of our flag have a much deeper significance than a simple fashion accessory or a passing fad. The black stands for hardships but the green and the gold remind us that though there are hardships, the grass is green and the sun still shines. I say this to let you know that despite what hardships you may experience in life, you can overcome them.
For far too long many of us have believed the negatives we have heard about ourselves to the point where we start to internalise them but I want to tell you that you are not a small fry, you are an important person and you are of great significance to the world. You must tackle the Goliaths in your life with the resolve that you have what it takes to overcome the challenges in your life, no matter how intimidating they may seem.
Young people are endowed with talents
The size of your country does not limit your potential for having an overall positive impact and even if you are from a large country, there may be other factors that cause you to feel small or insignificant. You may think that that you are the wrong race, the wrong gender, the wrong colour or from the wrong side of the tracks but no matter what limitations you may put on yourself or what society may put on you, you have what it takes to challenge the status quo and to change the world around you.
For me the concept of smallness is simply a perception set up by those who seek to intimidate and destroy true purpose. As human beings, we often look to those whom we deem to be higher than ourselves for the answers but we must realise that each person has been endowed with specific gifts, talents and skills to make a valuable contribution to society and you are no different.
It is time for us as young people to break that cycle of fear, to break that cycle of intimidation and get up and fulfil our purpose. When you get knocked down, you have to get back up again. When you get hit, it is not a time to cower in fear but it is a time to arise and see the strength that you have inside.
I encourage you not be intimidated by those who appear to be greater than you, you are just as powerful as anyone else. Do not see yourself as being anything less than God created you to be and do not settle for less than you are capable of because what lies within you is so much greater than you could ever imagine. If you remember nothing else, I want you to remember this- yuh likkle but yuh tallawah; you may be small but you have great strength.
Nicole Brown is from Kingston, Jamaica. She holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of the West Indies. She currently works in the field of youth development and has a passion for motivating and inspiring young people to live up to their fullest potential. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Nicole’s entry to the Commonwealth Video Contest: