Some fathers are W.O.R.T.H.L.E.S.S, worthless and I make no apologies about that.
Though I would not encourage any mother to say this to their children, but rather allow them to come to their own conclusions about their father, the truth is some of these fathers are worthless.
In fact any parent, whether man or woman who refuses to take care of their children is worthless.
Surprisingly, a few women fall into this category, but the vast majority of those guilty of not providing for their children are men. It doesn’t matter what the mother of the child did or did not do, providing for your children is your responsibility.
If the child is yours, you take care of him, it’s that simple. As a matter of fact, I would encourage any man,even if the child is not yours and you are able to provide for him to do so.
Now, I’m not talking about men whose hearts are genuinely willing but their pockets are weak. I am referring to those who know the child is theirs but choose not to maintain him or her.
Although money is a necessity, providing for your child is not always all about money, providing love, care, be a good role model, just being there for your children is equally, if not more important. The point is lack of money is not an excuse for not being a good parent.
I happened to be in a Courthouse on internship for a period of two weeks recently and had the opportunity to visit several Courts, including the Family Court. There was where you could find a host of worthless men being dragged before the Courts for lack of supporting their children. One after the other they came in arguing with the Judge – negotiating the miniscule amounts they obviously thought their children were worth.
I agonizingly endured what seemed to be one excuse after anoher from men who actually admitted that the children were theirs. “I don’t have it”, I’m not working” or“Is ten of them I have” and so on. Much to the Judge’s obvious disgust, as she reminded them that while they found comfort in saying that they were not working, their children could not work.
While the mothers looked on in distress, some through tears. A few of the fathers asked about the role of the mothers in the children’s lives, of which the Judge obligingly outlined, mathematically working out what it takes to provide for a child, proving that the little they give and in some cases didn’t want to give, was grossly inadequate.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, there were those who without the least bit of shame, implied that step-fathers’ should provide for their children. While I agree that a step-father should assist in supporting his step-children, it cannot be that as a result of this a father is going to abdicate his responsibilities towards his children.
Personally I would not necessarily take my child’s father to the Courts for child support. If a man doesn’t know how imperative it is for him to ensure that his child at least eats, then I don’t want his money. No Court had to force him to sleep with me, why should the Court now force him to take care of the result of his actions.
But, I do understand that some mothers with four, five or even one child cannot do any better, as well as those who just want to ensure that the fathers do their part. I don’t blame any woman who finds it necessary to take their children’s father to Court for maintenance. If they are not willing to pay, then let the Courts force them to do it.
Worthless men, how do you sleep at nights not knowing if your child is hungry?
While I cannot think of any ‘good reason’ why a man would not want to take care of his children, I don’t mind being surprised. In the meantime, let’s examine the usual reasons given by some men for not ‘man-ing’ up to their responsibilities, just to get an idea of how good a reason these are:
- His mother cheated on you and or left you for another man. Is this a good enough reason for you not to provide for your child? Did your child cheat on or leave you too? Spiting his mother cannot be healthy for your child.
- Her mother uses your money to do everything else except caring for your child. As shallow as this may seem to some people, there are many other ways to play your part without giving her mother a dime. Undertake the education, medical, clothing expenses and if necessary buy groceries and let the mother do the rest.Whatever you do, make sure you do your part and if necessary, do her part as well; after all, it’s your child.
- I haven’t heard any man say this before, but worst case scenario, your children’s mother tried to kill you, let’s say it’s that extreme. What do you do?Do you turn your back on your children because of their mothers’ actions? Let the law takes it course and support your children.
Granted the child is accessible, there is nothing that should interfere with a man taking care of his children once he is able to. Absolutely nothing! And don’t get too comfortable with the words, ‘not being able to’, because you should be actively looking for something to do and actually being there for your children in other significant ways.
I wish the Jamaican Government would do an analysis to see the effects Child Support cases have on the Court system, the Family Courts in particular, financially and otherwise. Thoroughly assess these cases individually to ascertain the reasons a father is not taking care of his children and where no good reason is found, a law should be passed and enforced to take the monies from their salaries and used to support these children.
I know that in some States where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has jurisdiction, the money is taken from the father’s salary, but we need to ensure that this is done or enforced locally.
As a result, the Family Courts will not be so burdened by these cases, but more importantly these children will have a better chance of being educated. Too many mothers and in some cases fathers have to struggle to send their children to school, by the time these children leave high school instead of going to University some of them have to find jobs to assist their families because they cannot afford to go to a tertiary institution.
I also believe that if fathers begin to live up to their responsibilities, we would have less crime and violence being committed in Jamaica. How many of these ‘Gun-boys’ grew up with their fathers? How many of them had a good role model as a father? How many of them had fathers who ensured that they were given a good education?
I am not saying that all children who grew up with supportive parents always walk the straight line; I am however saying that children who are supported are afforded better opportunities in life.
Coming out of the proposed assessment, where fathers are not working, the Government should also try to provide work, so that these children can be supported.
In reiteration, providing for a child is not the man’s responsibility alone, two of you contributed to the child being here so do your part as mothers. “What is good for the Goose, is good for the Gander”, it works both ways. Unless there is a genuine reason or an arrangement which prevents the mother or father from earning to support your child, I see no difference.
A word of advice to Ladies
- Don’t be vindictive and try to ‘milk’ the man for all he’s got, be reasonable, and think about your children.
- Be more responsible, as much as you would want to have out your lot, you should also have some means of taking care of your children. As good as having children are, having ten children of which you or their father are unable to care for is unwise.
- Step-mothers, girlfriends, wives encourage your man to take care of his children.
Men, to whom much is given, much is required, your children are priceless, take care of them. Nuff said.
By Patrice Dawkins