Single father making positive impact in son's life
MORANT BAY, St Thomas:
Though the term single parent is gender-neutral, the first image that comes to mind is that of a woman living with her children. But although single fathers make up the minority of such households, and though they are not as celebrated as the women, they still exist.
Gasford James Jr speaks highly of his father, a man who has been there for him through thick and thin.
"When I was a few months old, I was living with my elderly cousins because dad had to work day and night. When I was seven years old, I moved in with him," he said.
James told Family and Religion that he has been living with his father ever since.
According to him: "My father is a person who always wants the best for me. He always tries to make the best decisions that will provide me with more and more opportunities. I describe him as a mother and father in one because I have never felt short of love while growing up."
But despite his father's wholesome love, James admits that not having his mother around used to affect him.
"As they say, there's no love is like a mother's love, so I would often get jealous at school events or when I see other children with their parents," he said, quickly adding that his father's affection would immediately console him.
"He never made me feel as if I'm missing out. He always offered the extra care I needed," he added.
A story of a child who has no relationship with his mother is never a happy one.
"I saw my mother when I was four then another time at the age of six. Then when I was 13, I got her contacts when and we started talking and catching up of some sort. I have no picture of her and I can't describe how she looks," James revealed.
The now 17-year-old youth told Family and Religion that he was angry at his mother at first, but his feelings have changed towards her.
According to him: "A mother is a mother. She gave me life. Plus she also gave me endless apologies and I've grown to understand that people make mistakes."
And though it is ideal and recommended that both parents are needed for the proper development of children, James says he does not see himself as less fortunate.
"When I look back at it, now that I'm more mature, I believe that growing up with the guidance of my single father has always motivated me to do better and it made me a stronger person."
James spoke of the sheer admiration he has for his father.
He said: "What I respect most about my father is his addiction to success. He always wants to achieve. I see qualities of him in me. He's a hard worker and that is reflected in me though my academics."
And, as expected, "My father is my role model. Like him, I see myself with my child, fully supporting him or her spiritually, physically, and emotionally throughout my entire lifetime."