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Family life advocate blames absentee fathers for some of society's ills

Published:Saturday | July 9, 2016 | 7:00 AMRuddy Mathison

The importance of fathers has triggered a new appeal from Family Life Advocate Dr Ronald Blake, for them to provide positive values for their families.

Stating that most of the social problems in society can be solved if fathers are in the lives of their children to provide Christian values, Blake, who is also the executive director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, said: "It is important to have our fathers in the lives of our children. Studies have shown that where fathers go to church, the rest of the family follow, when compared to the mother or anyone else in the family."

According to Blake, who was speaking to Family & Religion after addressing the Kitson Town All-Age school-leaving exercise in St Catherine recently, "There is a trend of absentee fathers in Jamaica."

"I have spoken at five graduations and it is noticeable that fathers are not present. In my view, this is a reflection of the wider society," he said.

"The truth is that where the father is absent, it is a clear indication that you are reducing the likelihood of that child's success."

Noted Blake, "I am not saying that a child can't succeed without having a father in his life, but you are really reducing the likelihood and contributing to other social and economic ills in the society.

"I hear that what we need is more police, but I think what we need is to spend some resources to get the family unit back together, if we are able to fix this, we will fix most of the problems in society."

Using the example of his own life, Blake credited his father for leading by example, establishing that he always believed that to be there for your children is the best thing one can do.

"I will forever say my father was the best father. He was not a well-educated man, but I will say he taught me how to read and write because I always had to take the homework to my father. From my father's example, I know I have to transmit that to my own children today," Blake, who is married for 17 years with two children, shared.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com