Pearnel Charles Jr makes time for children
Although his job requires long hours at the office and on the road catering to the needs of his constituents and handling the affairs of the ministry he heads, Pearnel Charles Jr says although balancing his many duties isn’t easy, he ensures that his duties as a father of three don’t get pushed aside.
The member of parliament for Clarendon South Eastern and minister of housing, urban renewal, environment and climate change told The Sunday Gleaner that the key is to be creative with his time and honest with his children as he relies on the support of his wife, Eleasia.
“Because of the enormous challenges in terms of time, you have to be even more precise and disciplined in how you manage your time and prioritise your activities. You have less time to waste,” Charles said in a special Sunday Gleaner interview looking at balancing daddy duties with the demands of public service.
ACT OF MULTITASKING
For the 43-year-old politician, helping out around the home can easily be spun into handling phone calls while doing the dishes or ironing. This act of multitasking ensures he plays an active role in the home and raising his children – 11-year-old Pia-Elise, nine-year-old Eliana, and five-year-old Pearnel James.
“I think that’s why my wife loves me,” he mused.
“I do not believe that people have the opportunity to get real insight into the challenges of balancing the rigorous extended workday that politicians have while we still try to make family be a priority. The reality is that it is tough. I am a member of parliament in a seat that is very active during one of the most challenging times any politician would have seen,” Charles Jr said.
As such, he exposes his children to his job “as much as possible” and speaks honestly with them about what he does so they can understand.
“[If] you notice, my children are in the advertisement for tree planting. They accompany me on several of the visits that we do around the country to different farms and different areas … . I ask them questions so they become interested in what I’m doing and I challenge them to help me to know more about how they think,” Charles Jr said.
For him, fatherhood means always being always present even if not physically.
“What I love about my children is that because I have been open with them so they know the rigours of what I do, they take charge of balancing my work and family life. When they make a request for time, I push them to the top of the list,” he said. “I will postpone meetings, move things, and double up on my work just to give them [that] time. It’s not always sufficient, but I do as much as I can.”