Letters to the Editor

Focus on good fathers too!

Monday, June 25, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

I am pleased to see that media coverage for Fathers' Day 2012 has increased somewhat over previous years. However, I am concerned that so many of the stories are about deadbeat dads.

Jamaicans, and particularly the media, need to pay more attention to the good fathers in our country. Instead of inadvertently glorifying the absent fathers, we should proudly showcase the responsible fathers. We need to publish more stories that reinforce what I see in my community every day.

Many of the fathers in my community (Leiba Gardens, St Catherine), including my fiancé, are very happy for the privilege of being fathers. They play with their babies in their yards; walk their young children to the bus stop; and engage their teenagers in conversation. These fathers also hug their children; help with homework, give bike rides; do pick-ups and drop-offs for school; buy jerk chicken on Friday to give "mommy a break from cooking", and provide for their offspring financially and emotionally.

Many of the fathers in my community (Leiba Gardens, St Catherine), including my fiancé, are very happy for the privilege of being fathers. They play with their babies in their yards; walk their young children to the bus stop; and engage their teenagers in conversation. These fathers also hug their children; help with homework, give bike rides; do pick-ups and drop-offs for school; buy jerk chicken on Friday to give "mommy a break from cooking", and provide for their offspring financially and emotionally.

Some of these fathers are married, some are not; some live with their children, while others have visiting relationships with them. Many have only modest incomes, while others are much better-off. The commonality amongst these men is that they all love their children and they are involved in their children's lives. Why is it that on every Mother's Day we celebrate our mothers, but on every Father's Day we berate our fathers?

Year after year the Fathers' Day sermons that many pastors preach are about the "wutless" fathers, and the media publish the rhetoric again. We must be mindful not to send the wrong message to the good fathers and our children, especially our sons who so badly need to see more good male role models in the media. I have spoken to some of the responsible fathers, and they feel beaten down and caught up in the storm of disapproval for the worthless fathers. The good fathers want to be recognised, they want to feel appreciated, and they want to be validated.

Let us resolve to showcase examples of good fathers and promote good quality family life. Let us have positive reinforcement for the many fathers who take responsibility, and are loving and caring for their children, every day, right here in Jamaica. I look forward to seeing more features and more photographs of the good fathers in action. Congratulations to all the wonderful, responsible fathers in Jamaica, your labour is not in vain.

Erika Walker

walkerika@gmail.com

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