Each Father’s Day, we celebrate the men in our lives who have helped to shape the people we are today. In honour of these special individuals, the Compass is highlighting two fathers who have had a positive impact on their own children and children in the community.
Like all good fathers, Hoyt Ramoon, 58, and Sean Clarke, 50, know that being an effective parent means making children a top priority in their lives.
A group of children at George Town Primary school thinks Hoyt Ramoon is the greatest.
Ramoon has been involved in the lives of kids at George Town Primary from the time his own son David enrolled in Year 1 at the school.
Every lunchtime, from Monday to Friday, he sits with his son to have lunch at the school. Over time, other children gradually joined them at the table. He uses this time to talk to the students, and encourage them to get good grades and work hard.
“I’m looking forward to summer break when a party will be hosted for the children for getting good grades,” he said with a smile.
“Some of the young children these days just need guidance. They need that love, and as a father, I try to get close to them and help them out by talking and encouraging them to listen to their teacher,” he said.
“If you don’t have education, you’re not going far, that is the thing I preach to my little boy. Education is the key to most successes,” he said.
He feels more fathers should make an effort to visit kids at school. “You don’t have to come every day, but just show up and see that your child is okay,” he said. He advises parents to check with teachers to see how their children doing at school, and to try to get more involved.
Growing up, he said, his mother was the one that was mostly involved in his everyday life. His father was a seaman.
His mother provided lunch, took care of his clothes and assisted him with homework. “She was the driving force behind us,” he said.
Ramoon said he never gave any trouble and would always listen to his mother. “Our father wasn’t there but mama was there, and she would put us in place,” he said.
Ramoon mostly played football after school with his peers in the George Town area.
If he had the chance to go back a day in his childhood, Ramoon said it would be to play football with his friends and brothers.
“It was enjoyable and fun to get together with the bigger boys and play the game,” he said
Later in his teenage life, he played football with Cayman Islands national team, which he said gave him the opportunity to make many trips overseas to competitions for the Cayman Islands.
His greatest role model in life, he said, is his oldest brother Dale Ramoon.
“The kids today are not much different from when I was growing up. I just think they have more today, and more for them to achieve than in my time,” he said.
Sean Clarke would like nothing more than for parents to spend a few minutes with their children at their school. Spending time with his son Sean Jr., has become the norm for him, and through that interaction, he said, the other kids started interacting with him.
Three to four days a week, during his lunchtime, Clarke leaves his work at the health information records office at the Cayman Islands Hospital to eat lunch with the kids, play ball, watch over them or chat. He also works with the teachers in monitoring the school grounds during lunchtime.
“Children complain about little stuff so I will take them aside and one on one tell them not to worry about it, you are going to be fine,” he said. “It’s amazing what you see when a parent goes to the school and interacts with their kid or all the other children. Parents can learn from these little segments.”
He said today’s classrooms are different from when he was growing up.
For him to get a sense of what’s going on to help his son with homework, he visits the classroom, and when his son needs help with his homework, the outcome is a lot better. He also gets to see for himself the environment his son is in daily.
“A parent’s presence at the schools goes a long way, because most of the kids will not express verbally,” he said.
To the children, he is either ‘Uncle Sean’ or ‘Daddy Sean’. “They want just that one little thing, that extra attention,” he said.
He said there was more of a sense of community at the time he attended school, and he was always surrounded by people.
“If my mummy had to go to work, the neighbour next door would take us under her wing until she got home. Today things are more stretched,” he said. “People are worried about holding on to their jobs and sometimes feel comfortable using the school as a daycare centre.”
Clarke says being a parent is beautiful. He reads a lot and visits YouTube to find things to do with his kids.
Born in Jamaica and growing up in Cayman, Clarke said he would be told Anansi stories. He was told many times if he didn’t behave or keep quiet, he would get his mouth peppered. That was because he loved to talk.
One of the most important things he has done with his son, he said, is to get him involved in music. He plays the drums.
“Growing up, I was into music with a group called The Juveniles. Getting my son involved in music is like a legacy to me,” he said.
He would like to see children spending more time outdoors instead of in front of screens. “We have to take them out of the house, from in front the television, Xbox, PlayStation, and put them outside with outdoor projects.”