Christopher Martin in ‘wait and see’ mode for the new school year
Artiste-father concerned about kids’ socialisation amid pandemic
“Growing up in the rural parts of Jamaica, I was always outdoors,” says Christopher Martin. The reggae-dancehall artiste, who is a father of three – two girls and a boy – is concerned about the amount of time and socialisation his children have missed out on during the pandemic, but agrees that life is unpredictable.
Martin told The Gleaner, “As human beings, we do what we have to do to adapt to whatever circumstances we are faced with. For me, as a child, being outside was a norm for me, but for the young ones today, even without a pandemic, many of them were always indoors, all about their tablets and games.
“That’s where school comes in for my children. It gave them the balance, for them to take a break from the tablets and go outside and see their friends. I still think it is frustrating for them because it is frustrating for me to see them in that space,” he continued.
There are no easy solutions to the questions about children returning into the physical classrooms as parents, school administrators, teachers, and the Government weigh the options about isolating children (who are not vaccinated and cannot be vaccinated) at home by letting them access classes online or risk the transmission of COVID-19 through in-person contact.
Striking a balance
Though the Big Deal singer-songwriter names spending more time with his children as a pro of the pandemic, he is also very mindful of the cons.
“It has been challenging as a performing artiste, yet it is a very productive period for me. We are here striking a balance. I have to give thanks because my children aren’t problematic, and they have good mothers, so there are no complaints,” he said. “My daughters Kris-Sarai and Christiyana are two very different personalities, which I get to see more of; one is very techy and into things like cryptocurrency, and the other is very athletic. My son, he is just full of energy and feels he is the leader of the pack. He needs to be monitored more and is supposed to start school in September, but if he is going to have to do e-learning, I don’t think his attention span is there quite just yet, but I know our families will have to adapt.”
Last week, the education minister announced that children 12 and over must be vaccinated in order to return to face-to-face classes in September. However, Martin, noting that his children are ages nine, eight and three, knows the possibility of them returning to physical school is small.
“My daughter won’t be 12 for another couple more years, and I can only hope, when it’s time for my son, things will be okay. Although there are concerns, I have gotten accustomed to the change; it has been something I have gotten used to because I saw where my daughters got the chance to do face to face, but with the uncertainty of the pandemic, they still had to return to virtual,” Martin said.
“We will have to wait and see what happens; Watermount All-Age (now Watermount Primary) was integral to my development. It is where I found my love for football, even though I couldn’t even play well until high school, but also where I first honed my writing skills, writing letters and poems and just finding my true self through the socialisation I received,” he continued.
He expressed that as the world reopens and more job opportunities are presented, there is still a need for precautionary measures.
“I am not in the streets too much, me skin nah scratch me for that, but I do want to be back on stage, and while I don’t have a fear of coronavirus, I respect the protocols and have to be careful because I have the little ones. I have gotten used to being inside now, used to being in my space with the people I am used to. I, too, have adapted to performing in the virtual space, on Zoom for corporate and so on,” Martin said.