"I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him" ~Abraham Lincoln National pride surges when major athletic events are happening or when Independence Day comes around. We expect that Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the other athletes will do well and we cannot help but reflect on the contributions of our forefathers to nation building on Independence Day. However, what concerns me is the fact that national pride sharply declines when these events pass. Of course things are terribly wrong with our country but the same is true for many other countries around the world (first world countries included).

I want to challenge us to view national pride as a form of personal development by highlighting the following points: Where there is unity there is strength When the races are being broadcast it is amazing to see how quickly people gather, wherever they are, to catch the excitement. There is joy and hugs and laughter all around when we place in the top three and happiness, despite our disappointment, when we do not place. The unity that is present in these few moments is something I believe we should have in every facet of life. That camaraderie and dedication to the greater good of the country can only help to make the nation better. When we inject some hope into our country and stop the negativity we end up injecting some positivity in our own lives.

Bringing hope to the nation can inspire people to do great things We depend on our political leaders to give the country direction and work in the best interest of the poor. Although a lot of things cannot fall into place until this is done, I also believe that we each have a responsibility to have a spirit of hope for the country. So many people walk around with a chip on their shoulders because they think the country is doomed. Why don't we instead think of what we can do to bring hope to the country? Are there any community projects that we could get involved in that can make a difference in people's lives? When we learn to be positive and give more of ourself to others there is no doubt that the greatest reward we will feel is the satisfaction we get of knowing that we have made a difference. Represent your country well Wherever I go in the world I will always be Jamaican. People respond to the way we treat them and speak about our country. If we treat people harshly or only have negative things to say about our country then that will leave a bad impression on people's minds of Jamaica. If we are more positive then there is a great possibility that someone we meet will want to visit Jamaica therefore increasing the country's tourism income. These small things make a world of difference.

I challenge us to view our country differently and do what we can to build our nation. There is power in the small things we do.