Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Embracing the privilege of parenting

Published:Saturday | June 25, 2016 | 6:00 AMTamara Bailey
Family trip – Jodi, Liam and Keitho.
Keitho and his son, Liam, during a family a trip to the beach.
Daddy and son day out.
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MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

There is no manual on parenting given to those who have helped to bring a child into the world. Instead, there is a reliance on one's instinctive caring abilities to raise that tiny human being to be the best man or woman.

While some have been left to single-handedly raise a child, first-time dad Keitho Nembhard says a strong support system is crucial for this task.

"Parenting might be the single most difficult task a person will ever have - the stakes are high when you have a life to take charge of. However, it becomes easier when you have a strong support system in place. A home where mom and dad are present is certainly one that provides balance and direction, and God would have it that Jodi (spouse) provides that balance. We don't really assign specific tasks as we are both strong and mature individuals who believe that from parenting to household chores to something as simple as the grocery shopping, we can do it together or on our own."

As the training development manager at Sandals, Nembhard leads a very hectic life. However, his family is his main priority. Everything else comes at a distant second.

"The relationship I have with my son, Liam, is ever evolving, but the fundamental element of a good father-son relationship is certainly quality time together. Without that one-on-one quality interaction, we easily get lost or distracted and then tend to forget about what really matters most. Before you know it, your children are grown and you miss out on all the fun, crazy happenings of watching them grow from that little person into the kings you envisioned them to be."

 

STILL INVOLVED

 

Having had his own father leave by migrating to the US to seek a better life, Nembhard is testament to the fact that an absentee father can affect the life of a child greatly.

"That bond we could have had, even today, it is not there. The love is present, but that bond, if not created and cemented throughout those formative years, is almost impossible to create. It is the responsibility of the many good fathers out there to mentor and support young soon-to-be-fathers and young fathers as to their roles and functions. All is not lost, but we need the support of society to focus on what's going good, rather than focus on what's lacking."

He added: "The day my son, Liam, arrived gave birth not only to my prince, but it also gave birth to a new man as well. The sudden responsibility of being responsible for the welfare and nurturing of another human being was extremely humbling and required that I rise to the occasion and stand."

But what makes parenting worthwhile for Nembhard and what is so unique about the relationship between daddy and son?

"My son reminds me of myself growing up, so much so that it is frightening. At five years old, I was playing the same tricks on people and had a major dislike for all food, with the exception of sausage and Milo. I could eat that all day. I had the tendency to hide food under the table and get in trouble for it at the end of the week when they found a dumpling pile in some corner when cleaning. I almost died laughing when Liam was caught doing the same thing. I realised from early that I also had a huge heart, which I believe I got from my grandmother and mother."

 

POSITIVE IMPACT

 

He continued, "By God's grace, I see where Liam also has this unique gift, which seems to be uncommon these days. Too much emphasis is placed on vanity in today's world and achieving all we can by whatever means necessary that we forget that we are social beings. If we can impact one life positively, ever so often, we may realise that we find life to be that more meaningful."

Relishing the opportunities to take long drives to visit family and friends, Nembhard also enjoys family chill days with his son and spouse as well as watching a good movie.

"I want my son to maximise his full potential, and that goes beyond just giving him the things I didn't have while growing up. It speaks to building character and being resilient. His happiness and personal growth are paramount to us and, as parents, we will do anything that is ethical to provide a safe, nurturing and fulfilling upbringing for him."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com