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Sun, sand, sea and friendship

The Bahamas is more than just sun, sand and sea. The Bahamas is first about people who are warm and friendly. For many decades, The Bahamas has been promoted as a place where there is sun, sand and sea. It has been a catchy phrase that has been used to promote our beautiful archipelago. True, our sand and sea are some of the most beautiful in the world. However, if there were no people living in The Bahamas, even the most exciting visitors would not come to just visit sun, sand and sea.

This promotional phrase has not done justice to our nation. It has crippled us with a false sense of pride, making some believe that no matter what, people are going to come to visit because the sun, sand and sea are beautiful. This is a myth. Even if our hotels are not the best in the world, but the people are warm, gracious, inviting, and kind, and the environment is clean, the visitors will return. Therefore, I am proposing that this old promotional phrase be seriously activated with an additional word: “friendship”. Here are two suggestions: “Come to The Bahamas, where there is sun, sand, sea, and friendship,” or “Welcome to the beautiful Bahamas, where there is sun, sand, sea, and friendship.” I believe that the word friendship can make a difference, especially if it helps us to appreciate ourselves first and understand the importance of friendship.

Four weeks from now, Wednesday, November 23, we will celebrate the 11th annual Bahamas National Friendship Day. I am hoping that this day will be a reminder to all to appreciate the importance of friendship. Bahamians and non-Bahamians, National Friendship Day is another avenue to rejuvenate a spirit of togetherness, respect for one another, encourage unity, and a healthy national pride. Being friendly to visitors and strangers is not enough. We are to display genuine friendship among ourselves. True friendship can facilitate what is needed to reduce or eliminate crime, intimate partner abuse, child abuse, teenage delinquency, etc.

I invite every business, educational institution, and service provider to be creative in finding ways to promote and celebrate National Friendship Day on November 23. Since the day falls on a Wednesday, I think it is a good time for educational institutions to have a special assembly to celebrate the day; businesses can have a National Friendship Day sale and workers can wear the friendship colors of yellow and purple.

I think it is good for everyone to know the friendship pledge for National Friendship Day. It was written in 2011 by Patrice Williams Gordon:

“Driven by the spirit of friendship for my family, neighborhood, and country, I pledge:

My outstretched hands to serve and protect you

My attentive ears to care and listen to you

My winsome smiles to cheer and warm you

My rightly spoken words to inform and guide you

My time, efforts and motives to do to you as I would have you do to me

So together, under God we remain one people, united.”

Religious institutions and churches can learn the friendship anthem, titled, “Friendship Chords”. The words and music are by Marguerite Samuel (2011):

“Let all the nation join us in love and friendship chords,

For each of us was given a life to share his love.

Be kind to those who do you wrong, and smile to cheer their day.

This simple act of grace will change the pattern of disgrace.

We cannot let our quarrels and preconceived ideas,

Erase divine compassion, benevolence, and grace.

For in our sin God ransomed us, defeated every grave.

But if we love beyond ourselves, our problems He will take.

When someone seems too angry and their frustration stings,

Make sure to think beyond their present so distinct.

Reach out to them; don’t mind the sting, for God’s love conquers all.

Your kind embrace will melt disdain on our Bahamian shores.”

The music score for this anthem can be found on the website www.soencouragement.org/friendshipday.

Dear readers, make National Friendship Day a special day in your life, family, school, and workplace. Do your part in making The Bahamas a place where there is truly sun, sand, sea, and friendship.

• Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send your questions or comments to
question@soencouragment.org, telephone 327-1980 or visit www.soencouragement.org. 

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