Fathers are often viewed as being just the breadwinners but society needs to have a greater appreciation for the deep-rooted connection that a father could have with their children, says President of the Singles Fathers’ Association, Rhondall Feeles. He made this statement April 24 during a panel discussion on ‘Fathering’ held at the St Charles Borromeo Parish Hall, Tunapuna. The event was hosted by Tunapuna RC’s Ministry of Consolation (MOC) to address the issues among males in society.
Feeles shared his experiences when growing up with his mother in a single-parent household but said he can relate to the concept of “young males being trapped in their father’s skin”. He told those gathered, “A father needs to be a role model for his children so that they can mimic him and be proud of him.”
Feeles also urged single mothers to put aside the personal issues they may have with their children’s father and allow him to be a part of their children’s lives.
Fr Dwight Merrick spoke on the topic, ‘The father relationship and the young male’. Sharing his relationship with his dad, he gave one example of representing Trinidad and Tobago playing tennis but it saddened him that his father never attended a game.
Fr Merrick said he was only comforted by the fact that he learnt some techniques from his father. What also helped was the support and encouragement he received by other men of his community who filled the gap. Fr Merrick commented the “Church needs to play a part in getting our young people on track”.
A Question & Answer segment followed shedding light on the extent to which mothers need to understand that they need male figures to train their sons and equally important, the role a father plays in the life of their daughters.
During the segment one attendee pointed out staffing at Catholic schools is a matter that requires attention so that boys’ schools can be adequately staffed with male teachers.
Parish priest at St Charles Borromeo, Fr Ian Taylor urged persons to pray for inspiration that through the contributions of the panellists their eyes and understanding may be opened to deal with this acute problem of “fathering”.
He noted there was lack of leadership and mentorship for men in the nation, as well as a lack of cohesiveness within families, the community and wider society.
The event concluded with a Healing Service led by Fr Merrick. – Clarina Crevier & Manuelita Gomez-Thomas, MOC