Tue | Aug 3, 2021

Ricky Bennett: The determined single father

Published:Sunday | June 20, 2021 | 12:08 AMTamara Bailey - Sunday Gleaner writer

Single father Ricky Bennett.
Single father Ricky Bennett.

“Becoming a good father is not about learning five practical handy techniques that can be pulled out of the kitbag whenever they are needed. It’s a mind game. It’s about having a set of attitudes and ideas that shape what you do in the thousands of different situations you find yourself in as a dad.” – Tony Payne

It was always his wish to have children, but even more important for him was having them with the right person who would help him raise good, upstanding human beings.

The father of two, Ricky Bennett, did get his dream of witnessing the birth of two beautiful girls who have changed his life with their warmth, but he said he had no idea he would have had to raise them by himself.

“When I heard I was going to be a father I felt so good because I know I was going to have someone to take care of, but for some time I felt I had struck bad luck because the very same thing I prayed against was the same that reached me.”

With his girls aged three and eight years old, Bennett said he has now assumed responsibilities of not just father but mother.

“After their mother left, I had to start doing everything. I have to bathe them, get them ready for school, make sure they get their food and their hair is combed. I have to go to work because we have to eat. I have to pay bills, and I don’t have anybody like that to help out. It’s challenging, but I have to do what I have to do. Sometimes I have to take them to work and other times I have to pay someone to watch them.”

Whether construction or farming, Bennett said he will do anything to ensure that the girls are provided for.

“I love my children so much. Trust me, they just bring joy to my heart. Sometimes when we talk and they say some things, you just have to laugh. Me and my children sit down and rap, man. We reason about school, education, church, all these things. My wish for my children is that they get a sound education and they remain in good health. That is the most important thing I want for them.”

Even at the tender age of eight, Bennett said his elder daughter is always looking out for his best interest, and that causes his love to grow even more for her.

“Just the other night we were talking and she said that if I didn’t have to pay people to care for them, I could reach further. But I try to help her understand that nothing is too good for them,” he said.

Though his children are not as fortunate as he was to grow up with both parents, Bennett said his children must never feel as if they are lacking love or attention at any time.

“When I hear of and I see parents abusing children it hurts me. Look how children sweet and nice and you abuse them. That is foolishness. You must look out for your children because they didn’t bring themselves here. The parents brought them here.”

He added: “I want my children to grow up having manners, and that is what I try to instil in them. My parents, especially my mother, loved me and they made sure that I knew what kindness is.”