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Jun 18, 1999

News Five salutes good fathers

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All too often, we bring you stories about abusive or absentee fathers but with Father’s Day this weekend we thought it would be appropriate to give some credit to all the good fathers out there. Since we can’t talk to all of you, we chose four men to represent you. These dads not only enjoy parenting; they seem to be good at it. Janelle Chanona reports.

Dr. Erasmo Franklin, Manager, Agro Chemical Dept., Brodies

“The nicest memory is when she talked with me over the phone when she was less than ten minutes old. She did! She did utter a guttural sound. That was so devastating, emotionally.”

Sonny Meighan, Asst. Manager, Holy Redeemer Credit Union

“But one of the most that stands out in my mind was when we had taken Cathy out to caye for the first time and she would not touch the water; she won’t get in; she screamed. We tried to convince her to get in. I can still remember seeing her little face, all made up but we finally got her in and now she’s not afraid of the water.”

This Father’s Day when we remember our fathers, no doubt they will be remembering us too. All the little things we did when we were small that we forgot long ago, will stay with them forever. Although we so often hear that the Belizean society is in crisis, that there are too many absentee and abusive fathers, we seldom hear about the fathers who are there for their children. But men like Ruben Morales Iglesias can’t imagine not being a part of his little ones’ lives.

Ruben Morales Iglesias, Teacher, Sportscaster

“I consider being a father a privilege, not a duty or a responsibility. I guess it is something that is part of the process of life and you should feel privileged to have children, to have a family. And I guess one of the main things they have to look at is to make sure they grow well, they get a good education and later on hopefully, they turn out to be good citizens.”

Sometimes fathers also wind up raising the kids alone as in the case of Joe Habet, a widower.

Joe Habet, Financial Controller, SHELL Belize Ltd. (pictured)

“Well I remember when Kyle had just been born, when I never, never used to actively try to play a role – be participating in his life. And his mom used to insist on it. You know, you should do this with your son, you should do that. And I took a role in his life and well, not knowing what would have happened, eventually it kind of paid off.”

As times change, so do the demands on fathers. Sonny Meighan says one of the biggest challenges is creating a balance between what kids want and what’s really good for them.

Sonny Meighan

“Well, when I was a kid, there was no telephone at home, there was no television at home. There were three pairs of pants for school and one tennis shoe. Now we can expect our kids to go through the same, I won’t say problem, but the same thing we used to do at that time. These kids need two pairs of tennis, blue jeans – everyday. So it was much harder in our days, when I was a boy than it is for the kids these days.

I am not saying they should get all the things that they want but if you can make them have a better life, a better youth, we should make them have a better youth.”

Erasmo Franklin agrees and says times have changed, and not always for the better.

Dr. Erasmo Franklin

“It’s so hard these days, the social stimuli, it’s awesome. Television is bringing all kinds of signals, which might be detrimental in some cases. It has its positive points and gangs and stuff like that are violent nowadays. We had gangs but they were peaceful and constructive.”

But sometimes the dangers to the family come from peer pressure or a man’s own internal conflicts.

Dr. Erasmo Franklin

“Socially, a macho man is a man who has a lot of women, right, and who can take his liquor and stuff like that? So there’s that pressure and if a dad doesn’t want to be a good dad, he succumbs to that pressure.”

Q: “Do you think there is a lot of pressure from other dads and even from society that would inhibit you from being with your children and being the kind of dad that you want to be?”

Sonny Meighan

“No, I don’t think so. I don’t think I would give up being with my kids because my friends want me to go and drink or go play tennis. If I really, really think that kid would be missing out because I couldn’t be with them, I think I would give up whatever I had to do.”

Ruben Morales Iglesias

“I find particularly, like Friday nights, weekends, I do find quite a number of friends not staying home, not that it would be a bad or good thing, but definitely I guess societal pressures are there and it’s something that people need to be considerate of.”

But once a man makes a commitment to his family it seems the rest all falls into place. All the fathers we spoke to say they honor that commitment and feel a father’s presence is vital in the life of a child.

Dr. Erasmo Franklin

“Being a father connotes that you have to be ready, at least marginally ready. Financially you’ve got to be able to take care of your family, at least marginally. But most of all you need to be emotionally prepared. I think the whole idea is to be God centered and then things just flow from there.”

Ruben Morales Iglesias

“All of a sudden she is making the little fish, she is making, I think the bed, there. All of a sudden she comes and shows me and says, Happy Father’s Day. And little moments like that I guess are what make life very, how should I say, worth living.”

Joe Habet

“Well I find myself spending a lot more or trying to spend as much time as I can with them. It’s rewarding because you get back the love, you know. I mean, there’s no better feeling than coming home and looking at them doing this.”

Janelle Chanona for News Five.

Cathy, Rensi, Karensa, Alisa, Ruben Jr., Lesley, Anna-Lisa and Kyle who were all in our story tonight would like to take this opportunity to wish their dads a Happy Father’s Day.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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