Good parents key to nation-building

Good parents key to nation-building

Monday, December 09, 2019

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In this life, there are no guarantees.

We all know, for example, that a child can have the most thoughtful, caring parents imaginable, the best home and community setting, first-class schooling, and still come to adulthood as a negative force in society.

However, we also know that a child brought up and socialised in the recommended fashion has a far greater chance of making a positive contribution than the one who grew up hungry, angry, deprived and poorly socialised.

We all know that many of the latter become antisocial, dysfunctional people and, at worse, heartless criminals terrorising and preying on society.

Obviously, then, good, solid parenting is crucial.

Unfortunately, in Jamaica proper parenting skills can't be taken for granted. In fact, in far too many Jamaican families parents seem to have no clear idea as to how best to bring up their children, and some care not at all.

Then there are those who insist that children should be seen, not heard. Many of those will leave their young ones battered and bruised for a perceived wrong word and/or the slightest misdemeanour.

We can't deny that economics is part of the problem. A stressed-out single mother, unable to find food for her children — much less other necessities — will have a hard time showing her child the right way.

Likewise, an impoverished, unemployed man may well become an absentee father. And even should he be man enough to 'face the music', let's just stop to imagine his frustration and sense of inadequacy in the presence of his child.

But the problem goes well beyond economics. The uncomfortable truth is that there are those — regardless of economic/social circumstance — who have little or no parenting skills.

Which brings us to advice from Children's Advocate Mrs Diahann Gordon Harrison.

She is reported as telling parents at a recent forum that they should seek help when they find themselves struggling to cope.

Says Mrs Gordon Harrison: “There is no harm in asking for help. The most efficient tasks and the best performed tasks are really executed when you recognise that you can't do it all, and you identify individuals who are able to assist you along the path to getting it right. Parenting is a task of not only love, but the objective is to achieve excellence. You have to recognise that no one person is the repository of all information when it comes on to anything at all, let alone the most important job that you'll ever have to do in your entire life...”

Obviously, too, there is need for parental training to be easily available to all. We refer here not just to State agencies but to private voluntary and community leadership groups.

The Porus Primary School Parenting Club in Manchester comes readily to mind as one which has been blazing a trail in counselling residents of Porus and neighbouring communities in parental best practices.

Also, recognising the value of education and skills training in building capacity, earning potential and self-confidence, the parenting club in Porus has facilitated academic courses and formed partnerships with national skills certification agency HEART Trust/NTA for the benefit of members.

The Porus Parenting Club is also sharing with other communities in the wider Manchester and neighbouring parishes in building parental training.

That's nation-building at its best.

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