All is not lost

Dear Editor,

As I walked to the corner to catch the 21 bus, something inside kept telling me that this would not be an ordinary day.

Once I arrived at my bus stop, I observed several groups of boys and girls standing around as they waited for their bus to take them to school. When the first bus arrived, one group got on, the second and another until everyone was gone.

That is when I noticed a boy of about 14 standing alone. Curiosity got the best of me, and I just had to find out his reason for not joining any of the other groups.

He appeared timid and somewhat reluctant to engage in conversation with a stranger.

But after a while, he opened up and went on to tell me that the groups that got on the buses were gang members.

The cat had taken over completely, and I just had to find out more. So, as we waited for the next bus, I asked questions like why he was not a gang member and how come he was not intimidated by them.

I asked what his plans are for the future. His explanations were simple and direct: Number one his mother would kill him if she ever dreamed he was in a gang, and number two, he would rather face up to the gangs than the wrath of his mom.

His mother is a single parent of four children, two boys, and two girls. Him being the eldest, she works two jobs seven days a week to take care of them.

While she could not afford to buy them Jordans and Polo, she provided them with the essentials of life. They were always clean and well fed. She was a God-fearing woman who taught them the principles of godliness.

She is a fantastic woman, both mother and father to them. He had no intentions of letting her down, and as the eldest of his siblings, it was his duty to be a role model for them and keep them away from the gangs.

He wants to be a doctor.

All is not lost.

His name is Jermain, and I’m sure there are many more like him.

With so many young people joining gangs, it is refreshing to meet a young man such as him.

As Father’s Day approaches, I want to take this opportunity to call on fathers to take a greater interest in their children’s lives. They came from us. They are our responsibility; not the state, not the school or the church, but ours. They need us in their lives.

That is not to say all fathers are irresponsible because most dads do an outstanding job in taking care of their children.

Unfortunately, the delinquent fathers are the ones who bring ill repute to fatherhood.

They are the ones who go around sweet-talking and mystifying our young girls with false promises. They are dropping babies like shucking peas and then disappear, not looking back even to give a can of cream; leaving them to fend for themselves and depend on social services, churches, and soup kitchens.

Yet you will hear them in clubs bragging about how many children they have. What are you bragging about?

For the record, most violent crimes are being committed by young people who do not have a father in their lives.

What is a dad?

A dad is patient, helpful, and strong.
He is there by your side when things go wrong. He’s someone who guides you to do the right thing
 and helps you solve problems that life sometimes brings.

This is not intended to be a bashing post because many of us have erred. However, hopefully, it is a wake-up call.

The traditional home in which married parents shared the responsibility of child rearing has been eclipsed by a new Bahamas in which mothers primarily carry the burden of bringing up children. Some men who father children to women who are not married make an effort to do what is right.

However, many do not.
There are several disadvantages to a society growing via this model. The combined income and attention of two well-intentioned parents in a home far surpass what a well-intentioned mother, burdened by being both a father and mother, can provide to a child.

Beyond resources, children need examples to use to model behavior. When no father is present in the home, a boy is robbed of an example of how to be, or not to be, a man. Similarly, girls are denied the example of observing masculinity up close when their fathers are missing.

Sadly Jermain is one of the many young people who fall into the absent father category. That is why we give God thanks for mothers like his; the single mom who is determined to keep her children away from the lure of drugs and gangs.

The single mom who cares more about her children than another weave or the latest Gucci outfit. The single mom who has learned from her mistakes.

It is because of her that all is not lost.

Some days, she has no idea how she’ll do it. But every single day, it still gets done.

Maybe there should be a day to celebrate her.

Yes, I hear the wagging tongues. “She should have never gotten pregnant in the first place. She should have learned from the first time and not get big again.”

So we disrespect her.

I remember reading in the Bible where Jesus said you who has no sin cast the first stone.

To all of the Jermains in the world, I salute you and your mom.

Be encouraged, little man. God bless you. Keep on making your mom proud.

Happy Father’s Day.

Anthony Pratt

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