Single father speaks of his love for daughter
SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:
Single fathers are often not highlighted because they are known to be the ones who quite often leave the responsibilities of raising children to mothers.
However, Lloyd Prince has mastered the art of raising a child as a single father.
"I raised Sabrina from the age of three months, and at 22 years of age now doing her final year in nursing school, I continue to be an exemplary father," Prince told Family & Religion.
The 45-year-old single father whose chief occupation is a sole trader; buying and selling household commodity, recounted how he found himself in a position of being a father and mother to his three-month-old baby girl Sabrina Prince.
He revealed that after the birth of Sabrina, her mother who was unemployed migrated to the Cayman Islands in search of what she termed a better life.
"After she left, I know I had my work cut out for me. I now have a girl to raise so I had to manage my responsibilities," Prince stated, pointing out that with some help from his own mother, he was able to navigate Sabrina's formative years of development.
"I had to pick her up at day care, come home from work, wash her clothes and prepare her for day care the next day. Very challenging, but I managed because I was determined to be the best parent I could be to my daughter," he disclosed.
Raised in a family of three - two girls and a boy - Prince said, while a lot of Jamaican men are shunning their fatherly responsibilities, he embraced the idea.
"It is a difficult job and you have to be committed to succeed, it cannot be done without a level of spirituality. The values you instill in your children must have a spiritual foundation," Prince stressed, revealing that he had Sabrina going to church from she was a baby.
Prince said one of the major challenges he faced raising his daughter was when her mother returned after nine years and insisted that she wanted custody of Sabrina. After a bitter court battle, he was granted custody.
"As a father and mother, you have to be prepared for the possibility of sickness. I remember Sabrina coming down with vomiting and I had to take her to the hospital, waiting a long time in line before I was able to see the doctor," Prince said, adding with a chuckle that being a single father helped him to get through faster.
According to him, transparency, openness, and honesty are hallmarks of being a good father, suggesting that the lack of these attributes will send the wrong signals and will leave her to figure out things that can lead to confusion and misconceptions.
"One of the things I told her from an early age that if she stay away from guys, I would pay her way up to the university level. This promise, in my mind, has contributed to her doing the right thing. I told her sex can wait," the single father said.
Prince said he knew that without a solid education, it would be difficult for her, so I encouraged her to do her best and work hard.
He said after the failed relationship with Sabrina's mother, he tried two others that did not work out, noting that, in both cases, he said he was respectful to his daughter and explained to her that he was pursuing marriage.
"I will, however, appeal to single fathers not to bring a lot of females in and out of your daughter's life, she will become confused by this wrong message," Prince advised.
Meanwhile, Sabrina praised her father whom she said put her through Bridgeport basic and primary schools, Hydel and Excelsior high schools and now nursing school.
"I am extremely grateful to my father who has instilled core values such as obedience, hard work, morals, dedication, virtue, and responsibility in me," Prince told Family & Religion
The 22-year-old, who was born on April 12, the same day and month as her father said her dad taught her how to dress modestly and how to conduct herself in a ladylike manner.
"Daddy and I grew together, the church taught him the values he taught me. He was always there for me providing me with all I needed because we were born the same month and day I always tell him that I am his birthday present," Sabrina said with a giggle.
She said she has forgiven her mother and holds no form of resentment in her heart. "In fact, I love my mother very much and I have communicated this to her," Sabrina disclosed.