Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Ten year-old identifies weak men as Jamaica's problem

Published:Wednesday | May 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/ Gleaner Writer
Kelani Maloney (left) and Zakora Harrison, Grade 1B students at St Aloysius Primary School in Kingston, strike a pose during the school’s celebration of Boys’ Day on Monday.
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The absence of a positive male figure in many homes is the root cause of Jamaica's problems, according to 10-year-old Zachary McCalla, a grade four student at St Aloysius Primary School, which on Monday celebrated Boys' Day 2018 under the theme 'Transforming Boys into Responsible Leaders'.

McCalla, whose ambition is to become a pilot, told The Gleaner that men were failing at being good fathers and that teachers and mothers were left to carry the load of moulding children all on their own.

"I want to be a pilot because every pilot has to be responsible for the people in his plane. And I see, too, that fathers should be responsible," he said.

"It's mostly mothers doing everything for the children. That is not good. Some fathers are good, and I see my father as a hero. I love him," McCalla said.

"When I grow up, I will be a soldier, because they are responsible and they set good example and are disciplined," added his classmate, Shamar Morrison.

ROAD MARCH

Boys' Day at St Aloysius Primary School also included a march from the precincts of the downtown Kingston school on Duke Street to the nearby Jamaica Conference Centre, where they were addressed by RISE Life Management Services Programmes Manager Shaun McGregor. He charged the boys to develop and maintain decency, honesty and a commitment to the good of their families and friends, while challenging them to be all they dream of being.

"There are two words in the dictionary that I consider the best words. These are 'I' and 'am', because any positive words that are added to them, you become," he told the approximately 650 male students.

Guidance counsellor Tracyann Taffe-Thompson said that the march was organised to draw attention to a lack of male leadership in an attempt to reignite responsibility and pride in those looking on.

"We want to raise men of honour, and we see where the fathers are slacking off, and we also know that there are some men in the society who want to see a change," she said.

"So we thought a march with the boys would help others looking on to even think about getting involved, positively, in the life of a boy who is not their own," noted Taffe-Thompson.

She argued also that too many men had ceded responsibility to women and that this has hurt the development of boys across Jamaica because it had left them bereft of male role models.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com