Troy Collins - Defying the deadbeat dad stereotype
Life, at times, can take unexpected turns. One minute you could be in a loving union, sharing a child with someone you believe will be there forever, and a second later, you're a single father with a one-year-old boy at your feet to care for. You're unemployed, living in an inner-city community and the place you call home, lacks the basic amenities for a good-quality life for the child. What would you do?
Seven years ago, Troy Collins, found himself in this situation. And his life changed drastically. His son became his priority and he embarked on a mission, to give his son a great life.
Collins is revered as a superhero dad, wearing an invisible cape and defying the common deadbeat dad stereotype, while striving to be the best role model for his son, Trey.
"My son is my motivator. Before having him, I was the laid back type of person. Once I had food and clothes, everything was fine. The house I grew up in, did not have anything, not even a proper bathroom. But after having my child, I wanted him to experience certain things, so that's when he went out, so these things would not be new to him," he told Flair.
He had an estranged relationship with his late father and also deems it one of his major driving forces, as he strives to be the best father. His mother is the other strong force.
"I see my mother as my father. She had five children, did 'days work' and sent all of us to high school. So, as a father, when the pressure rises, I think only of my mother," he declared.
He's now the networking officer at Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB). His seven-year stint at the organisation, stemmed from his act of impulse to succeed with being able to adequately care for his child. Since his initiation into the single-parent world, Collins has made countless sacrifices.
"When I started at the JMMB, I was a part of the YUTE programme and I was not getting much ... it was just a stipend. I remember walking from Crossroads to New Kingston for work and back, just to ensure that my son could go to school and wouldn't have to be without lunch," Collins reminisced.
Collins also revealed for the first time, that he even had a second job as a security guard for Quest Security Services, while working the first three years with JMMB. He worked three years as a night guard at a gas station and garage off Old Hope Old. This dedicated father, terminated this job because his son fell ill with asthma, as he spent his nights at the hospital where his son was admitted. Collins feels that he and his son are inseparable.
Although his circumstances have changed, Collins confesses that he continues to have challenges as a single parent. He worries that he is not doing enough to emotionally and academically support his child.
"My greatest challenge is not being there as much as I should be, because most times I am at work. Recently, I watched him receive an award for the most outstanding academic achiever and I just feel like I haven't done enough to help him," Collins explained.
He has a message for all fathers.
"Remember that everything that you do will affect your yout. Not being there for your children will impact their future. They may not turn to violence, but it will impact them. And look at yourself and see if where you are is where you want your children to be. If not, do something," Collins advised.