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Frank Manicksingh: St Mary's model father

Published:Saturday | April 23, 2016 | 4:00 AMOrantes Moore

Over the past two decades, doting father of five Frank Manicksingh has won 10 awards for his commitment and dedication to childcare and education.

Manicksingh is one of St Mary's best-known paternal experts, and as acting chair of the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) for Region Two, he believes the key to becoming a successful parent is to develop a healthy relationship with your child's school.

Speaking to Family and Religion earlier this week, he said: "Your presence at your child's school makes a great difference because once that child understands you're associated with the school to the highest level as a parent, they know they will have to walk the line.

"Of course, the child is still going to step out of line, but the minute they remember the principal, and all their teachers know you very well and can call you anytime to make a complaint, they will try to walk in line. Parents really should pay more attention to their children at school. It's a voluntary service, but it pays off in the end.

"Some people leave parenting to the mother, but the mothers of my children have never been to PTA meeting because I tell them I will do it. My children are aged between 10 and 28 years old, and I put them all through school.

"I mothered and fathered the first three by myself. I put them through college, and now they're all in the United States. The last one is a teacher, and my eldest son is an electrician, who runs his own business."

 

NO MALE PRESENCE

 

Manicksingh notes that women make up around 95 per cent of the audience at PTA meetings and urged more men to show their support for the organisation.

He said: "I don't know why, but there are always far more women than men. Even on a workday at school, most of the people who turn out to help are ladies. Some of the jobs are for men, but they have to do them because there is no male presence.

"I think the men's absence has a great impact, and we can all see the results taking place right here in Jamaica. The lack of fathers in our children's lives tends to throw them in the wrong direction."

Looking ahead, Manicksingh hopes the cycle will one day be reversed, but until then, he continues to encourage fathers to show as much interest in their child's educational development as possible.

He said: "I would advise an expectant or new father to try and know where they want that child to go because the first mistake is very hard to correct. If you're a decent chap, and even if you're not, you'll want to see your child going in the right direction and getting a good education and occupation, but you will have to open the way, so get involved in their life."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com