'Listen to the children'
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
Rev Reece urges parents to play a more significant role
Hoisting yesterday's edition of The Gleaner in the air and pointing to the headline, 'Failed parenting', the Reverend Donald Reece, president of the Jamaica Council of Churches, yesterday urged parents to listen to their children in order to be able to effectively guide them.
The referenced article had highlighted concerns about the consequences of poor parenting put forward by Jamaica College students during a Youth Editors' Forum hosted by the newspaper.
Speaking during the launch of Parent Month at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Library, Reece said parents' reluctance to properly communicate with their children has led to a number of dysfunctional families in the society.
"Our parents are the bones in which children sharpen their teeth, and that sharpening of the teeth involves listening to our children. When you listen to your child, you learn who the child is in terms of his/her growth and maturation," he said.
"Parents must learn to talk to their children in a way that will uplift them, not to put them down. Many of them are walking around with baggage such as low self-esteem, and so we ought to be there for them that we'll be able to uplift them and guide them," he charged.
Likewise, Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites charged parents to maintain a healthy household for their children so that they will be better members of society.
"The best thing my father ever did for me was to stay with my mother for over 40 years so that I had a family to grow in. Children do best when they know they have parents who check for them and who care," Thwaites said.
"The best thing somebody could do is be a good father or mother. It's bigger than being prime minister or minister or even a Shelly-Ann (Fraser-Pryce) or a Usain (Bolt)," he declared.
He added: "Let's not take parenting for granted. I know times are hard, seeing that we are faced with some serious challenges, but it's not about coming from a rich background, it's even more important that we create a stable background for our children."