Dads on Duty

IT’S all about ‘Dads on Duty’ today in this special post-Father’s Day feature, recognising the men who have been dependable and diligent in maintaining a strong fatherly presence in their families, while holding their own at work.

Today we’re honouring fatherhood and paternal bonds, while celebrating the influence of fathers, like the ones in the next couple pages, on society.

We asked them, “How have you been raising well-adjusted children while holding down the fort both at home and at work, as a Dad on Duty?

Dan Theoc, SVP – Investment Banking, Mayberry Investments Ltd

CHILDREN: JORDAN AND DANA, 21 and 19

Dan Theoc with his wife Maureen and kids Jordan and Dana

I am the proud father of two young adults, Jordan and Dana. They are currently both away on full scholarships at college in the United States. I’ve been happily married for 24 years to their mom, Maureen Edwards Theoc. Together, as a team, we have raised two wonderful and exceptional talents. It’s been a bit of a juggling act because we’re both working professionals. Most times I feel like the minister of finance and security, while Maureen has been the prime minister with responsibility for everything else. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a workaholic, but I’ve done my best to ensure I am present and involved in the upbringing of our kids. Maureen and I have a wonderful partnership which has produced two brilliant, wellmannered and disciplined young adults. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them and what great contribution they will make to Jamaica, land we love.

Kadeen Mairs, CEO, Dolla Financial Services

CHILDREN: MADISON AND MALAKHAI

Kadeen Mairs with little Madison and Malakhai

I am proud father of two beautiful children whom I co-parent. While it can be challenging to provide the paternal attention and support they need while running a company, I make it a priority to carve out the time for this every day. Just as I would schedule meetings with my team or other stakeholders for Dolla Financial, I schedule time in my day to pick up my kids from school, help them with homework, or just have some fun.

As the CEO for a microfinance company, financial prudence and the value of a dollar are very important to me. I try to instil these values in my children by giving them opportunities to earn their own money through chores and helping out at home. I also impress upon them the importance of humility and gratitude for our blessings, while trying to help those who are less fortunate as much as possible.

Ricardo Williams, Head of Branches – Eastern, JN Bank

CHILDREN: KEMOYA, 18 AND DEJAUN, 14

Ricardo Williams with his children Kemoya and Dejaun

The task of raising children has never been easy. Raising well-adjusted children, especially in today’s society can be a challenge, given the many external factors that can influence the desired impact you wish to have on your child. The morals and standards that you set within your household are easily threatened by outside influences such as social media, music and peers. Therefore, I have had to try my best to strike a balance where I work to reinforce certain standards and behaviours at home, while at the same time give my children the freedom to make decisions and to test these standards on their own. This means allowing, though limiting, the use of social media and other social influences, with the hope that the values that I have instilled will stand the test of time.

However, with a demanding job, it is quite a difficult task to monitor my children’s activities. This requires a high level of dedication and patience. For me, the consistent completion of ‘daddy tasks’ are driven by my need to ensure that my children develop into well-functioning members of society. I am active in their educational development as I balance my job daily with their activities, such as school drop offs and pickups. Additionally, I assist with homework completion. I also seek to ensure that once I am at home they are well fed (meaning I cook).

As a dad, I also seek to spend quality time with my children. For many years my entire annual vacation entitlement was scheduled around when they were on school break. I am big on creating memories with my kids as opposed to giving them gifts, so I am about doing activities that will create positive memories that will stay with them long after I am gone.

Being a dad on duty is very fulfilling, so, despite it being a challenging task, it is a task that gives loads of gratification. Big up to all dads on duty!

Shaun Myers, Group Vice-President Finance and Planning, First Rock

CHILDREN: ZAYN, THREE MONTHS AND IMANI, NINE

Shaun Myers with hischildren Zayn and Imani

As a working father of two, I have to maximise my productivity during general work hours so that, for the most part, nights and weekends can be dedicated to my children and maintaining a strong bond with them.

With Imani, the challenge has been to balance the time she spends on devices with typical social and learning activities, most of which were limited during the pandemic. As a result, we have had to implement limits on device usage and enforce activities such as reading, creative arts, socialising in person with friends, and going on trips. For Zayn, who is still a baby, all is well once his belly is full, diapers are clean, and he gets the required love and attention.

Russell Rickards, AVP Facilities, Supreme Ventures Limited

SON: RAJE, FIVE

Russell Rickards with son Raje

Being a problem solver and a solution-oriented person is something that comes to me naturally and is definitely an asset in my career. I get tremendous joy from surmounting the daily challenges that come up at the office and seeing my clients pleased with the results of my intervention and action. Family is also central to my sense of fulfilment. There’s nothing better to me than seeing my family happy and getting my work done.

Since becoming a father, my time management and organisational skills have definitely been an asset in ensuring I’m delivering at work and pulling my weight at home. Despite the increasing demands at work, especially since the pandemic, spending quality time with my “mini-me” is always on my priority list. It gives me a sense of satisfaction and pride to know that I am a responsible father and that I’m being an active and positive role model in his life. It is unfortunate that there is a general perception of a shortage of good fathers. I encourage all fathers to make the time to be an active part of their children’s lives; the years go by quickly and so does the opportunity to mould and shape them into great people.

Leon Gregory, Business Development Advisor (North), Investment Client Services, Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited

CHILDREN: MANU, 11; INDRA, NINE; AND TWINS MYLES AND ISAAC, SEVEN

Leon Gregory and his crew

Being a father is a privilege and responsibility that I take very seriously, and I strive to not only be a provider for my family, but to also be present, active, and emotionally available to them.

The teamwork between my wife Vailala and I has been crucial in our being able to give the best to our sons, both financially and socially. It takes a great deal of compromise, sacrifice, and sharing of responsibilities to raise four very energetic boys. Vailala has been a great mother as we cared for them and supported each other.

As our boys grow into their own personalities and interests, I try my best as their dad to keep up with them individually, support and guide them according to their passions. Despite the various obligations that come with my job, I make it a priority to also ensure that I spend time with my family each day. Being that we’re a large family with different schedules, it’s sometimes tricky to get everyone in the same space, but mealtimes are around the table where we pray and mention one thing we are grateful for. I like to take opportune moments such as those to bond with them.

I’m happy that my role at Sagicor is one that allows me to spend most weekends with my family, and we use that time to do chores around the home together, attend church, and go hiking and swimming at our family park in Oracabessa. We laugh and play a lot together, and I try to read with them most nights. They keep me on my toes, and it is very fulfilling. Of course, we have our challenging moments like any other family, but we strive to ensure that each child knows that he is loved, supported and encouraged to do his best.

Providing for my children’s needs is a very important part of being a good father, so excelling in my career is very important in ensuring that I can support their education and other necessities. I seek opportunities to upskill myself, maintain a high professional standard for my sons to look up to and emulate.

As fathers, it’s our responsibility to mentor and shape the lives of our future generations, and I take this opportunity to ‘big up’ all the men who positively impact children’s lives every day.

Maurice Thompson, Director, Licensing and Registration, Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission

CHILDREN: VANESSA & MABRUKE

Vanessa, Maurice and Mabruke Thompson

Being a dad means you are always on duty and instilling certain key principles from an early age. This goes a far way to ensure well-adjusted, culturally aware children today and conscious adults tomorrow.

It is important to me as a father to actively participate in the lives of my children and ensure they are exposed to and gain knowledge of their ancestral roots, culture, spirituality, and history. Children who have this knowledge and exposure are less likely to succumb to peer pressure and to suffer from self-hate. I believe these are critical to ensuring that children are well grounded in the 21st century.

Involved fathers create well-adjusted children; impact child development outcomes, such as behaviour, academics and health; and are more likely to engage in positive parenting behaviour.

My work is important to enable me to provide for my family. However, I don’t allow it to distract from my primary duty as a father.

Ralph Tomlinson, Head of ICT Business Solutions Department, Digicel Business — Jamaica

CHILDREN: JASON, 20; DOMINIC, 16; AND JONATHAN 14

Ralph Tomlinson (right), with his three sons (from left) Jason, Jonathan and Dominic.

I count it an honour and a great blessing to be the father of three boys. Mine and my wife’s upbringing has played a major role in the way we have raised our sons. My parents instilled strong values in me, including respect for my elders, putting God at the centre of everything, and working hard to accomplish my goals. I have, in turn, passed these values on to my children.

Admittedly, raising children in today’s environment is not an easy task. It requires dedication, intentionality and strategic planning. I constantly remind my sons of my love for them and I provide for them in the best way that I can. This includes spending quality time with them. With the demands of my job, it is not always easy; however, I see it as my duty to create opportunities for them to travel with me, and on these occasions we bond by having “real talks” that include setting goals and timelines for accomplishing them. I also participate in parentteacher meetings, attend school events and support them during sports activities.

Another major part of raising our children is our commitment to God. I try to be a godly example to my sons by taking them to church and teaching them to honour God, knowing that God will in turn honour them. I also depend on the support of my “village” which includes my extended family and my church family. I am grateful for the support system that I have, this has certainly played a major role in shaping the lives of my sons who all have a bright future, and are well on their way to becoming the men and leaders of tomorrow.

Calvin Blackellar, Branch Operations Manager, JMMB

CHILDREN: LIAM, EIGHT; AND CARTER, TWO

Calvin Blackellar with his boys Liam and Carter

I have been able to raise well-adjusted children, while being a dad on duty, with the help of my wife Renee. I approach fatherhood as a combination of leading by example, spending time with my boys, and actively seeking information to improve my parenting so I can attend to their needs. I believe a child is like a blank canvas, and with the help of a parent, a child will develop into the masterpiece God destined him/her to be. So, if you want wellmannered, kind and loving children you have to paint that picture daily through modelling and reinforcing these values. We all have 24 hours in our day, so it very important that as a father when we clock out at the office, we also remember the commitment we made for football and bedtime stories. Being present as a cushion for them to throw their legs over while watching TV, a walk in the park, or suggesting good hiding spot for “hide and go seek” is by far the best part of my day. In the same way I will study for an exam and read policies and procedures to ensure that I can perform on the job, I also read books, articles and visit BabyCenter, which holds a tonne of information on parenting; after all, this is the most rewarding and important job I could ever have — father.

Miguel ‘Steppa’ Williams, Community Development Manager, Digicel Foundation

CHILDREN: MALI, SIX; GHANA, 11; KENYA, 15; CARISSA, 16; AND SHAKIRA, 19

Miguel ‘Steppa’ Williams (centre) shares a warm moment with the whole crew. From left: Kenya, Carissa, Ghana, Mali and Shakira.

Like many other fathers, I sometimes wonder if I am doing everything necessary to ensure that my children are well adjusted. However, when I see that my children are respectful, independent and doing well in school, I take this as an indication that they are heading in the right direction. Raising children in a mixed family setting is a very interesting challenge. Every child wants to feel special, so we have to ensure that there is collective family time as well as individual bonding moments.

Much of the foundation teachings I impart to my children come from my parents and my life experiences. I also believe that my children must have goals set for them, along with plans on how to achieve them. Currently, Kenya and Carissa are working on passing their CSEC, while Ghana and Mali’s goals are PEP-related. Shakira, the eldest, is currently focused on a career in the US Army.

Raising well-adjusted children involves helping to build their confidence and autonomy, supporting their dreams, and helping them to unleash their creativity and capabilities. In addition, I like to highlight the importance of taking responsibility, eating the right foods, harbouring healthy thoughts, and showing self-love.

Work can be stressful, but my family always gives me a good reason to smile during my downtime with them. Having a very understanding employer makes a big difference in maintaining a strong bond with my children. As a Jamaican-born company, Digicel is big on family and encourages excellent family relationships. This is always good because if you are not settled at home it’s hard to be settled at work.

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