By Vaneesa Webbe
Patrick Williams, affectionately known as “Best” of Rawlings Village, Gingerland, is a well known building contractor in his community. For Mr. Williams, his most esteemed job is that of being a father. Mr. Williams states he is aware that some fathers are doing a good job but that others need to be encouraged. He further explains he felt inspired by God to share out of his own experience from being a father of five children, who are now adults.
Mr. Williams lives in Rawlins Village with his wife of twenty-seven years, Viana Williams. Together, they raised their children in their matrimonial home. “It’s a blessing to be a father and a father should see himself as a king. The father should be the number one role model for the child. He should be the hero in the family. It is easier for the father to play his role if he is married and lives at home with the mother. But if the father does not live in the same home with the child, he can still be a good father,” opines Mr. Williams.
For him, fathers should not only be present in the home but lead in taking care of the family. Mr. Williams sees himself as the king of his family and that one of his duties is to treat his family as royalty. “As the king in my home, when we go out together, I get out of the car and open the door for my wife and for the children. These little actions count,” he graciously expounds, with a smile.
Mr. Williams feels that the traditional roles often displayed by fathers in our communities, should not be used as a guide for how fathers should be involved in the home and in the lives of their children. “Traditionally, the fathers go out to work and put the money on the table, then the mothers or women in the home are expected to do most of the housework. This role should be done away with. Children should see the father helping in the home and giving the support needed,” he stated emphatically.
At home, I clean and enjoy cleaning very much. I wash, I iron my wife’s clothes and also assist with the cooking. I want my wife to be happy in her spirit and let my children including my sons, understand that the father is not just a breadwinner but a kind, caring, loving, humble person. It is important too that children see the father taking care of their mother. This will make the children feel happy. At home, I help my wife when she is washing her hair. I dry them, part and grease her hair, then plait them for her.”
Elaborating on his views of the role of the father, Mr. Williams points out some key guidelines for fathers to become positive role models for their children. He shares, from his perspective and experience, ten important pointers fathers should follow when raising their children: –
- Let love reign – fathers first have to love themselves, love God, and show all the love they can to their children. Many times people are kind to other people but not to their own, we should be kind and loving to others but charity should start at home. We should not just be kind to others and leave out our own children. I practice to show love in my own home first. My family is my closest neighbour.
- Teach the children Godly values – read the bible to the children, let the children know they have to practice what is in the Bible. We attend the Wesleyan Holiness Church in Hanley’s Road but we start at home to instill Godly values in our children. When the children were small we would read the bible to them and tell them about God. We would point out that they have to practice what is in the Bible not just read it.
- Discipline the children – a father should be there to discipline his children and help keep children on the right path. Let the children know when they are doing wrong things and point out to them the right way. I take disciplining children seriously.
- Be caring – if a child is not feeling so well, take turn with the mother to help care for the child. I would say to my wife, ‘take a break now Mummy, I will help now.’ So that all the strain is not on her.
- Be actively engaged in the lives of your children – attend parent teachers meeting at school, sporting events and activities that are important to your children.
- Teach the children to share – teach the children to share at an early age. I would bring home one apple on purpose, even though I was in a position to buy seven apples. I wanted to teach the children to share so I sliced that one apple into seven pieces and gave everyone a slice. That is how they learnt to share. Today, my children practice sharing, as young adults the one who is working would buy a pair of shoes for the one who is not working. That is how it should be.
- Encourage teamwork – keep unity in the family and assign roles to each child when more than one child is present in the home. I hardly would hire anyone to clean my yard. Seven of us live together and I explained to them that if each of us pull one tree (shrub) the yard will be cleaned in no time. They agree, so all of us go out in the yard and clean it together and in no time we are done. We also go shopping together as a team.
- Do not speak negatively and predict bad for their future: When we have challenges with children, don’t get vex and say ‘you will go to prison’ No, have a sit down talk with the children who want to have their own way and talk in parables to help them see what they are doing. If they don’t listen, commit them to God in prayer. But don’t give up on them.
- Have fun with the children – play games. At home we played cricket out in the yard with the children when they were growing up.
- Create special memories – take the family out for a drive. Take the children on the Waterfront in Charlestown for ice cream, or at the seaside and cool out. Tell stories about growing up and make the children laugh. The children will not always be at home. When they leave, let them leave with good memories of growing up and a desire to create happy homes for their own children.
In speaking separately to three of his children, they confirmed that they are blessed to have an awesome Dad.
When asked what motivated him to become a good father to his children, he explained that his own father left the house when he was twelve years old and even though he provided for them when he could, his mother had to struggle a lot to raise them as a single mother. “Growing up in Nevis in the ‘60’s was hard and it was not easy after my father left. But I don’t practice dwelling on the negative, so I prayed and asked God to help me to become a good father to my children. I wanted to get married and be in the home with my children and try my best to raise them well. For me, good families mean good churches, good communities and less problems in society. I give God the glory for helping me to be there for my children.”
Mr. Williams is desirous of encouraging the men of our nation to “rise-up as Godly kings, play the role in the lives of their children that God expects”. According to Mr. Williams, love is the key to help men to be good fathers to their children. He is also hopeful that one day he will write a book about building a strong family foundation for the advancement of our Nation.
The ten factors pointers is not a promise for utopia, instead encouragement for fathers to do their best in their role as ‘Dad.’
‘Happy Father’s Day to the Fathers of our Nation’