Tue | Aug 3, 2021

‘I am raising Marcus to be a gentleman’

Kamal Powell shares how lessons learnt from parents are helping him to raise his son

Published:Saturday | June 19, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Kamal Powell (left), and his son, Marcus, following a karate tournament.
Kamal Powell (left), and his son, Marcus, following a karate tournament.
Powell (left) says one of the most vital lessons for him to teach Marcus is the importance of being confident and the value of a good education.
Powell (left) says one of the most vital lessons for him to teach Marcus is the importance of being confident and the value of a good education.
Powell (right) and Marcus at bird bush. Young Marcus holds his catch in one hand and a juice box in the other.
Powell (right) and Marcus at bird bush. Young Marcus holds his catch in one hand and a juice box in the other.
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There is an undeniable fear among many prospective fathers. For some, having a child appears so daunting from the outside looking in. It’s almost as if becoming a parent would be one of the hardest things that could ever happen to a man. The early mornings, the weekend stay-ins, and a tiny being who eats and sleeps all day, but requires more of your attention than you would ever know.

Surprisingly, this was not the experience for Kamal Powell, J.Wray & Nephew Limited’s regional marketing manager for the Caribbean. He was given a “cheat sheet” to fatherhood. “I never had much difficulty adjusting to fatherhood. I have a lot of older siblings, so when my son Marcus was born, I already had the cheat sheet for dealing with kids. Lucky for me,” he remarked.

The lessons learnt from his own father also provided a useful paternal map. Despite his own dad’s passing, he admits that teachings from his parents stay with him to this day, and are the lessons he now passes on to his son. “My parents taught me how to be genuine, never fake it, and be your best self. What made it even more interesting was that I learnt a lot of these life lessons through stories. My father always told me the story about being a good friend to find a good friend. He used to say healthy friends cultivate healthy friendships, and that story taught me how to be a good friend to others. But being humble was also commonplace in my household. Daddy would often say, ‘Son, we have nothing to prove, but we have everything to offer’,” he shared.

How well we remember the good days, but sometimes there are hard times that we never forget, and we carry those teachings forward. Powell admits that one of those lessons was being grateful for what he had. “There were numerous times growing up when money was tight. Nevertheless, my parents taught us to be content with the little that we have.”

There is an old saying that says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. But, have you ever heard about a child raising a village? Well, for Powell, one lesson he learnt early through his parents was, “if the community needs us, we’ll be there”.

“If a need in the community arises, my parents were among the first to be there. They set a healthy example from the very beginning that life is not all about getting, it’s about giving, too, and these are the lessons that helped me to raise my little prince, Marcus.”

Powell shares that even though he raised his son with these lessons in mind, other things underscore his son’s upbringing. These include being a gentleman, being honest, being direct, and the power of education.

“I am raising Marcus to be a gentleman. A great guy needs to be polite, respectful, considerate, and attentive. Being a classic gentleman means exuding chivalrous behaviour, such as pulling a lady’s chair and sharing. Also, I teach him that honesty is a great quality, and I ensure he understands that there is nothing wrong with telling the truth instead of telling others what they want to hear,” he said.

Being confident and focusing on getting a good education is probably one of the most important lessons for fathers to teach their children. “I believe it is important for my son to be direct when talking to anyone. I teach him to be assertive in what he has to say, as this communicates confidence. And this is very important in the classroom, too, speaking up and speaking confidently. I help him to recognise that education coupled with hard work is the key to success, and this will open doors to a great future,” Powell outlined.

Fathers far and wide strive to ensure that they raise their children to become the best person they can be — from good mannerisms, building healthy relationships, being thought leaders, and excelling in school. For most, there is one lesson that is the most important for their child to learn.

“My biggest lesson for Marcus, and I tell him every day is that you have the ability to make a difference in the world, and you are the creator of your own future.”