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Women need to be re-educated on role of fathers

Published:Tuesday | November 19, 2019 | 12:06 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Michael McAnuff-Jones of Mentoring a Nation.
Michael McAnuff-Jones of Mentoring a Nation.

National Coordinator of Mentoring a Nation (MAN) Michael McAnuff-Jones has asserted that the strengthening of fathering in Jamaica requires the re-­education of women.

He said that mothers have been significant in downplaying the role of fathers as research done by the Caribbean Child Development Centre shows that there are many women who deny men ­willing to participate in fathering the rights and access to children.

Added to that is the prevailing culture in the inner city that says: “Having a child authenticates me and it distinguishes me from those who are barren so that the motivation for having children does not necessarily include the idea of a father being present.”

McAnuff-Jones explained that such a notion may also exist among ­middle-class women as people continue to see having children as “old-age security and pension”.

Chair of the National Association for the Family Dr Michael Coombs agreed with McAnuff-Jones, noting that there are inter-generational cycles that need to be broken.

“A lot of women, their wrong perception of family life and even what men ought to be originated because they had no role models in growing up. They did not see the kind of fathers loving their mothers as ought to be the case … a lot of these women, the way they act is as a result of them having bad role models or none at all,” Coombs said.

In addition to the training of 250 men in churches, MAN embarked on the training of 30 women over the course of a three-day seminar in July. The women are now tasked with the coaching of other women, including those who are not yet mothers.

The seminars covered wide-­ranging topics, ­including matters relating to the seasons in a child’s life, the role of the father in developing moral authority, conferring identity, affirming potential and the role of women in allowing the men to shine.

Coombs said that the idea that mothers can father is a fallacy.

He added: “Nobody should classify our men as worthless. We recognise that there are good men – lots of them – and we need to lift them up and celebrate them. However, we must admit that a lot of our men, they are not being who they ought to be as men, and they need our support and our love. Some of them, they just don’t know how to – they don’t know how to go about being a good father, and so they don’t need our condemnation to be called worthless,” he said.