The Frankness and Relevance of Brother Eddy’s prayer

By Lorna Callender


When the late local preacher, Brother Eddy of St. Kitts, found conflicting passages in the Bible, he would make an honest appeal to God through prayer for guidance.

Unlike some present day pastors who speak as though they had the monopoly on divine revelation and authority to interpret the Scriptures, Brother Eddy asked God directly to “show us what to do”.

One of his more memorable prayers that has great relevance today went like this:

“Lord you have told us in the Scriptures “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov.22:6) but we also read “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Cor. 15:33) so Lord, show us what to do.”


This honest, plaintive appeal for help was on the lips of the majority of Christians this last weekend, reeling as they were from the violent activities of the week which saw the record number of four young men being killed allegedly by guns in the hands of other young men.

An innocent bystander, an old woman – 81 years of age – had also been wounded near her home. This incident awakened all to the fact that everyone is a possible victim if s/he were in the wrong place at the wrong time.


As happens during any upsurge in violence, fingers quickly point to others in a litany of blaming: It’s the gangs; it’s the parents; it’s the government; it’s the prime minister; it’s the churches; it’s the parents; it’s the parent’s; it’s the society; it’s the parents…’s the parents…

And this brings us back to Brother Eddy’s prayer.

Most people seem to believe that any child gone astray has done so because s/he has not been ‘trained the way s/he should go’, but there are many parents out there wringing their hands and worried to death because in spite of all they did, bad company (evil communications) has corrupted the ‘good manners’ they had tried so hard to instill in their children.

Why is it that sometimes two children grow up in the same household and had the same discipline and training, yet one rebels while the other obeys and becomes a law-abiding citizen? Should we still blame the parents?


Teachers will tell you that every child is different and his/her reactions will be directly related to the child’s needs at the time.

The psychologists will tell you that a child has a hierarchy of needs – 1. physical and physiological (food, clothing and shelter) – 2. Safety needs (personal security, financial security, health and well-being); – 3. Love and belonging(acceptance by family and social groups); – 4. Esteem (includes self-esteem and recognition); – 5. Fulfilling of potential or self-actualization

The needs of the child cannot be satisfied by parents only.

Many parents satisfy the physical and physiological needs and feel they have done their duty as parents. If they become aware that a child also needs to feel secure, accepted, recognized for who they are, and encouraged, then it is hardly likely that ‘bad company’ will corrupt their stable and happy existence.


“It takes a whole village to raise a child”

‘This Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) proverb exists in different forms in many African languages. The basic meaning is that child upbringing is a communal effort. The responsibility for raising a child is shared with the larger family (sometimes called the extended family). Everyone in the family participates especially the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins. It is not unusual for African children to stay for long periods with their grandparents or aunts or uncles. Even the wider community gets involved such as neighbours and friends. Children are considered a blessing from God for the whole community. This communal responsibility in raising children is also seen in the Sukuma (Tanzania) proverb “One knee does not bring up a child” and in the Swahili (East and Central Africa) proverb “One hand does not nurse a child.” –

Some can still remember when some of this was still practiced in our island villages.


We can begin again to notice who the young people in our communities are. We can compliment them, recognise them, encourage them, make them feel they belong to a wider world which cares for them and will lend a hand to see that they develop their potential. We can all become part of their extended family. Failure to do this is not an option.


(First published on

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