During a recent awards ceremony for sixth graders, an over exuberant father had the audience of parents, family and well-wishers laughing with his antics of affection shown towards his son. He was very animated in his excitement to let everyone know how overjoyed he was for his son’s accomplishments.
While his behavior served to provide humour for the audience, it was good to see a father showing his feelings so openly. With so many people speaking negatively about men who are fathers, this father’s open display of affection was refreshing.
And, since we just celebrated Father’s Day yesterday, perhaps we should focus our energies towards the do-gooders, those fathers who are doing their part to raise morally conscious individuals. We seem to fall into the abyss of negativity when it comes to talking about the men in our society, and this only serves to hamper any forward development in this or any society.
Our general lack of interest towards men is most evident when it comes to how we feel about our fathers or perhaps men in general. Looking at the sides of the streets leading up to Father’s Day, one would not have seen very many, if any, booths set up selling a variety of trinkets for “good ole dad.” There weren’t any cars on the side of the road either with people selling wares out of the trunks.
Someone once said that the only thing being sold on the side of the road this time of the year is crabs. And, unfortunately, this is how too many people view men, and in particular, fathers. But for those men who know that they are worth more than crabs, we applaud you.
That is why it was particularly refreshing to find out that Mr. & Mrs. Glen Higgs recently held a banquet in their sons’ honour. They wanted to let the community know how proud they were of their three sons who have excelled academically. Not knowing them personally, I can only assume that these young men are well-rounded individuals who are well on their way to fulfilling their purpose in life. And, I am sure that much of their successes thus far must be attributed to their parents, particularly their father.
But we must recognize that while a beautiful melody can be played for these three young men, very sharp and sometimes awfully flat chords are being strummed for many boys and young men in our land. The anger in these males is so palpable that it can make you choke, and it does not seem as if a solution is in sight.
The rate at which we are losing young men to crime, drugs, and violence casts a dim outlook for this country in twenty years. Have we totally failed our young men? I strongly believe that parents and guardians have allowed the Internet, cell phone, television and i-pod to usurp their roles, and in effect have permanently damaged an entire generation.
There are too many young working grandparents, so there is little or no wisdom being passed on to young parents. Even though teenagers having children is nothing new, the family structure 40 years ago was such where children had almost constant adult supervision. That is not so anymore, because we have allowed electronics to raise our children.
One teacher commented the other day that she wished she had if only five parents who performed their duties as parents. Far too often parents give up and look to others to do their job. I don’t know of any literature written about parenting that says it is easy, so once you say yes to being a parent, understand that your life will be different and at times difficult.
The problem with too many parents is that they do not want anything to be “different” and they definitely do not want any “difficulties” in their lives, hence the chaos and disorder. This is why we have parents openly admitting that they cannot control their five and six year olds. This is even why parents are being verbally and at times physically abused by their teenagers.
Please, I beg of you, turn the electronics off and begin taking back your role as parents. Our children want to be parented. They want to interact with you if you just give them the time. The way those sixth graders hugged their teachers on stage the other night, was evidence that they prefer the human touch more that twiddling with some electronic device for hours on end.
About the author:
Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at