Dad’s Outlook a spirited conversation
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
These wise words of Benjamin Franklin can be applied to the journey of fatherhood as the process starts from the moment you decide to date the woman you intend on making the mother of your children.
The Gleaner’s Outlook Magazine, in association with sponsors Sagicor Bank and Appleton Estate, staged a forum dubbed Dad’s Outlook, which featured four fathers weighing in on ‘daddy matters.’ The panel was made up of Sagicor SME manager, Stevie Barnett; Senior Blender at Appleton Estate, David Morrison; recording artiste, Wayne Mitchell, more popularly known as Wayne Marshall; and The Gleaner’s Enterprise Editor – Lifestyle, Teino Evans.
Despite the casual royal blue and white lounge decor, the uber chic afternoon took us on a delightful voyage of love and laughter, paired with tear-jerking memories as each father spoke of his unique experience on the joyous journey of fatherhood while sipping on Appleton Estate ‘Rare blend’ mixes.
Host Marlon Campbell posed questions that really hit the core of fatherhood, and the fathers did not hesitate to answer.
“Ever so often, men have children with women who they don’t see as mothers, and they end up in a lifelong commitment which they really were not prepared for with that woman, and so children suffer from fatherlessness,” said Mitchell.
When asked about their initial reaction to the news of becoming a father, each father said there was a spiritual movement within them which could easily be equated to an urgency to mature as a life will be dependent on them for guidance, love, and support to become high-minded members of society.
“I met my father when I was 22 years old. He was never around physically or financially, and as such, I make it a point of duty to be actively involved in the lives of my children. I remember what it felt like to suffer from fatherlessness, and I want to break the cycle, starting with my boys,” said Barnett.
By virtue of fatherhood, lessons learnt:
Stevie Barnett: I learnt the art of listening. Children are honest. If you listen, you won’t miss a beat in providing for their needs, which will lead to a far better bond between you and them.
Wayne Marshall: Unconditional Love. They will test your patience and everything else within you, but withdrawing your love is never an option.
David Morrison: My son has taught me patience. There was no sleep at night for the first eight months of his life, and as he gets older, he tests to see where the boundaries are. But no matter what it is, you have to learn not to lose your composure.
Teino Evans: I’ve learnt to be a role model. They will follow exactly what you do, and so you have to be mindful of your actions.
(See more coverage from Dad’s Outlook, on Sunday at www.jamaica-gleaner.com and in Monday’s Gleaner.)