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One Jamaican father is encouraging other men to “step up” to their role, and take a more active part in the nurturing of their children and providing proper guidance for them.
“The males need to, maybe, step up some more,” said Noel Miller, while urging the mothers “to encourage them, not to put them (fathers) down. Sometimes they just need some encouragement, because we tend to be timid at times.”
The father of one was among 11 outstanding caregivers, who were today (May 13), presented with the National Parents Award by the Ministry of Education. A total of six fathers were recognised at the award ceremony held at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle office in Kingston.
Mr. Miller shared that one of the most rewarding experiences as a parent is getting to see one’s children grow up and to experience the sometimes easily missed moments in their lives. “Just to be with their child and see how they grow up, see the things that they like, what they don’t like. You don’t have to have much, but just being with them is rewarding,” he stated.
The National Parents Award, presented in collaboration with the Coalition for Better Parenting, recognises caregivers, who promote family values; are aware of the laws pertaining to child care and development; demonstrate strong school and community involvement; are role models; and who exercise initiative by undertaking activities that will benefit the entire school community. Today’s award recipients received a family vacation to one of the Spanish hotels across the island, through a partnership with the Spanish Jamaica Foundation.
Speaking at the award function, Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, stated that parents are the first and most important teachers and, as such, must not be left to figure out their roles on their own.
He acknowledged that “parents don’t always have the same level of skills, the same level of resources, the same educational background, the same level of exposure,” but noted that the Government will take the lead in providing support for caregivers by setting national standards for parents.
He noted that legislation is expected to be brought to Parliament before July for the setting up of the National Parenting Support Commission, which would seek to highlight the importance of parenting to national development and to provide information to parents regarding their rights and responsibilities. He disclosed that a social marketing campaign will also be launched to provide valuable parenting information for caregivers.
Addressing the challenges of raising children, Mr. Holness declared that there needs to be a campaign emphasising that two parents are better than one.
“We have gotten by on the single parent household for a long time, but we haven’t gotten as far as we could have, if we had both parents involved in the household. I think, as the Government, we have to promote that idea much more than we are currently,” he stated.