Careers & Education

Corporate dads: balancing work and family

Sunday, June 17, 2012    

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IF you're a parent then you know that striking a balance between work and family requires great skill. In seeking to achieve that balance, some unwittingly spread themselves too thin, and in the end, everyone suffers.

For these three dads, full-time corporate jobs have presented challenges, but they have not allowed them to stand in the way of spending quality time with their kids.

LAURIE FERRON

Manager of architecture firm Pyramid Design Consultants

President of the Jamaican Institute of Architects

Father of two girls — Jenelle, 20, and Zahra, 15

How involved are you in your daughters' lives?

I am involved, but I always feel guilty that I don't spend enough time with them, due to my hectic work schedule. I do make up for it whenever time allows and I have started to work a little less on weekends now, with a view to phasing out weekend work altogether in the near future.

What does being a father mean to you?

It means the world to me, especially seeing my daughters grow up into two lovely young ladies — Jenelle is studying hospitality and tourism management at the University of Technology and Zahra is in fourth form at Merl Grove High School and I'm really proud of them. The journey with them from birth to now has been really awesome -- both the good times and the not-so-good times. It's great being able to bring out the laughter in them and see the smiles on their pretty faces.

What are some of your most memorable moments as a dad?

The birth of my daughters, as well as when they started kindergarten and I saw them in their uniforms for the first time.

Strict disciplinarian, pacifist or indulgent. Which dad are you?

I consider myself a pacifist but I'm authoritative as well.

Describe your disciplinary style.

I set out rules and guidelines without being overbearing. I encourage them to be independent, while at the same time maintaining a limit on their actions.

GREGORY WILDMAN

Acting Finance Manager, Digicel Jamaica

Father of Tinaya, 14, and Matthew, 7

How involved are you in your children's lives?

They grow up so fast, so I am very involved in their lives to ensure I don't miss a beat. I feel like I am there with them every step of the way. My daughter attends Wolmer's High and my son is at Wolmer's Prep (I'm a proud dad as I'm also a former Wolmerian). I do the drop-off and pickup rounds every day despite very busy days at work. In line with that, my wife Nicole and I ensure that all homework is done on time and

that studying is in check. I also get very involved in their extra-curricular activities, so I take my daughter to dance classes three times per week, plus extra classes on Saturdays and I take my son to football practice every Saturday.

What are some of your most memorable moments as a dad?

Apart from when they both began their first day at Wolmers, I have a lot, but if I had to choose, I'd say when I attended their graduations as they moved from one school level to the next. I'd also have to say I was such a proud dad when Tinaya sang Ave Maria at our wedding. When she pitched that high note at the end, I was soooo proud of her!

In addition, I'm proud of their overall achievements in school. Matthew has earned a Gold Award — an above 90 average — every term since enrolling at Wolmer's.

Currently, Tinaya is preparing to represent Wolmer's Dance Troupe at Jamaica 50 celebrations coming up. She also danced at the opening of the recent Boys/Girls champs.

What does being a father mean to you?

Being a father means the world to me as I know that these 'little blessings' are a part of me and my wife and everything they do or do not do, or whatever they achieve is a by-product of our direction and guidance. I get to enjoy the warmth of family by having them around — which not all people have. They are mine and I am honoured and blessed by it.

Strict disciplinarian, pacifist or indulgent. Which dad are you?

I'm a very playful and understanding father. I play their games, watch their TV programmes and listen to their music. I think this allows them to see me as a friend and not just a dad. But there is a time and place for everything and it's very important to us to ensure that they grow up with the right values that my wife and I would like for them. But all in all, we have fun together and enjoy much of the same things!

Describe your disciplinary style.

Being the son of a disciplinarian, I have little tolerance for impoliteness, improper language and time wasting. When needs be, I take away their privileges when I see any signs or evidence of 'slacking off'.

GREGORY BROWN

Compliance Officer, National Housing Trust

Father of five-year-old Joel

How involved are you in your son's life?

I'm very involved. I would say out of a score of 10, with 10 being the highest, I would say 20.

What does being a father mean to you?

Being a father means the world to me. It's very rewarding seeing a part of me grow and develop.

What are some of your most memorable moments as a dad?

My most memorable moments are going to pick him up from school or coming home from a hard day at work and seeing the smile on his face and the warm greeting I get with him shouting "Daddy!"

Strict disciplinarian, pacifist or indulgent. Which dad are you?

Unfortunately, I am a pacifist.

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