Monday, June 1, 2015

June 21st is Fathers Day in the US.

 Written by Chris Daley

My friend Joy invited me to join her on an outing to the zoo. She needed a chaperon for her first grade class. Well, my romantic heart got visions of slowly strolling, hand in hand on a pleasant spring day sharing a mango smoothie. I blurted out a yes before she could finish the request. Well I was jolted from my day dreaming moment when she assigned me three, very lively first graders. I got to hold hand alright, the hands of these kids as we maneuvered around the zoo, trying to stay together in the sea of students. I was again reminded why Mother's day is such a more affirming day than Father's day. Men, women were all over the zoo.

They were teachers, bus drivers, caregivers, stroller pushers. Sure, there were some men, but we were in the decided minority. Guys, let's change this profile and readily volunteer for such opportunities. One of the kids in my charge had arrived from Jamaica only one week prior. She was filled with excitement and foreboding and thus kept particularly close. As the trip proceeded, she felt more comfortable and became a chatter box. She shared that her dad was still in Jamaica, and how much she missed him. This declaration brought a flood of memories. Without exception, every woman that I have had as a close friend has always talked profusely about her dad.

There is always a longing admiration. Even if he was aloof, even if he was overbearing, even if he was dead, he was fondly remembered in some manner. How will my girls remember me? I have been blessed with three wonderful daughters, thus my focus on the father-daughter relationship. For the past eight years, I have been a single dad. With my youngest about to begin college in the fall pursuing a degree in history, I can afford to be a bit reflective.

My eldest is clearly out of the nest, married, and practicing the craft of videography internationally, from India to South America. My middle child is a junior in College sharpening her leadership and entrepreneur skills as she pursues a business degree. My parenting mojo consist of my trifecta of B's: Belong - unconditional love, good communication and home- base security Believe - in God first and your God given gifts Become - Invest in your education, push the edges of your discomfort zone, widen your success footprint.

Well this proud papa is beginning to enjoy the fruits of these many years of parental investment. I find that the currency of this return as tears. Yes, tears, tears of joy when I celebrate with my kids some milestone achievement. I saw an editorial in the Gleaner of May 14 suggesting that people should have to apply for a license to become parents. My first reaction was one of shock and dismay. Upon reflection, I think the author is just echoing his frustration with the break down of the family unit and would recommend such a draconian solution to restore this important ingredient to the success of Jamaica's future. I cannot envision any practical means of keeping folks apart when their desire is running rampant. I would however suggest equipping our young people with emotional and relational intelligence that will give them the capability to internally handle mature issues like their sexuality.

Men, we can play a key role in reducing the dis- functional trend our Jamaican family systems. Let me challenge you to also have a village focus to your fatherhood. Let me explain. Some single mother needs you to be a male role model to her child. I have tried to practice this investment with boys. It is going to be you or 50 cent providing that role model. I will guarantee that your involvement in a young boy's life will be more life changing. Raising children today is never easy, but it is the most rewarding, fulfilling job you can have.