Ja dads urged to shape up

Asked to start supporting their children

Jamaican fathers were Sunday urged to become more involved in the lives of the nation’s children in light of the high number of female-headed households islandwide.

During the Child Month 2007 church service held yesterday at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, St. Andrew, Dr. Pauline Mullings, chairperson of the National Child Month Committee, said: “Any man can become a father, but it takes a special man to become a daddy.”

The theme for Child Month this year is ‘Fathers, Your Children Need You’.

Dr. Mullings, who said she lost her father in the Kendal train crash of 1957 when she was an infant, said the absence of her father left a void in her life, juxtaposing her pain with that of many children whose fathers have abandoned them.

“If my father who died has not been around to support me and be there for me and I feel the way I feel … can you imagine what it feels like to know that your father is alive and he doesn’t seem to care?” she asked.

Dr. Mullings said several childrenin Jamaica are affected by absentee fathers and it has taken a toll on their development. She, however, pleaded with delinquent fathers to redeem themselves and become involved in their children’s lives.

Douglas Orane, patron of Child Month this year, said children exposed to negative parenting often display the same behaviour when they become parents.

“It is important that, whether we live in the same household with our children or not, we maintain a strong relationship with them. We must use every means we can to communicate with them. In short, we must be close to our children and be the best fathers that we can be regardless of the situations in which we find ourselves,” he said.

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