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Kenneth Genus doing the job of mother and father

Published:Saturday | May 23, 2015 | 5:00 AMLauntia Cuff
Kenneth Genus has been raising his 14-year-old daughter on his own since she was eight months old.

For some, the absence of fathers from their children's lives has become an acceptable occurrence in today's society.

Fortunately, there are still those men who put the well-being of their children before their own.

Kenneth Genus is one such father.

He has raised his 14-year-old daughter on his own since she was just a baby.

When the mother of his child decided that she no longer wanted to be a part of the relationship, Genus said he allowed her to go, but decided that he would keep his daughter.

"I have four children, ages 24, 23, 25 and 14. Only one lives with me: she is the last one. I [had] her from she [was] eight months old. [Her mother] is not capable enough to raise the child. If the mother can't do the job, the father [has] to do it," Genus explained.

He says that as a man, having a young baby to care for at the time caused him to make adjustments to his life, but he did not mind as caring for his child became his number-one priority.

"Sometimes, when you would like to sleep, she get up and cry, so you have to look after her and see if anything wrong with her, give her what she must get, and get her to bed again.

"Hanging out with your friends, you know it couldn't be again because you know you have a little baby and you couldn't just bring her when she's small like that [to] go hang out with friend. You would have to be [like] a mother," he told Family and Religion.

When she started to attend school, Genus, who works as a labourer, would have to leave work to go and collect her.

"When she go basic school, anywhere me deh, me have to leave and go pick her up by 2 o'clock. Sometimes me doing mason work, sometimes a lady [at the house], so they say bring the child," he explained.

If not, she would stay with him while he worked if he was unable to make other arrangements for her care.

hair-care arrangement

When it came to combing her hair, he would take her to a friend of his who would have her hair combed on the weekend. If she was unavailable, he would take her to the hairdresser to have it done as he was unable to do it himself.

As she continued to grow, however, he recognised that there were some things that, as a father, he might not be able to teach his daughter. As such, he ensured that she remained close to the female members of his family, such as his sisters. Wherever he is lacking, they are able to fill the gap, and although he and her mother have long ago parted ways, he says she is still a part of their daughter's life as he does not prevent her from being there.

He says despite having to make many adjustments to his life, it has been a joy raising his child.

"Me try to teach her the right things. She have to go to church, she have to have manners, she have to do her homework and study. I try my best to send her go school and give her what she need, so if she fail, she can't say a me make she fail. She have to blame herself.

"More time mi rough (strict) because you want your kids to come to something good. You want he or she to come better than you. To me, it's just a joy [raising my child]," Genus said.

He said that, for him, one thing that sometimes upsets him is when he will hear of adult children making efforts to locate their parents who they do not know. He said he would never want that to be the case with any of his children, and that is why he has made such an effort to be a major part of their lives. He says another thing he cannot understand is how a man will not support his child, forcing the woman to have to take him to court for the child to be maintained.

Of such a man, he said, "Him better tighten him belt and take care of him child because, one day, him a go regret it. Me no know what wrong with some father. How you leave [your child to] suffer and go take up fi nex' woman and a go min' all six of them and you no know if yours a eat a biscuit? You fi take part in you [child's] life!"

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com