Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, yesterday urged more men to get involved in the Parent Support and Education Programme, launched by her Ministry in May, this year.
The Minister made this call, while speaking at the closing ceremony of the first Training of the Trainers’ course at the main conference room of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.??
She said:?? "We know that there is a certain level of authority, especially in dealing with children that the man carries that is so needed in our schools, in our PTA’s… and of course in our families.?? I hope that we can see at the community level that more men [will become] involved."
The need for men to be a part of the parenting process was also highlighted by a newly inducted peer support and education facilitator, Charles Harding.?? He stated:?? "The male figure is important in the family setting… but if we come together we will be able to solve some of the problems in our society. I am quietly confident that we will go into our communities and make that small change that is necessary to the lives of a few, in the first instance, because every great achievement starts with the first step."
Another integral of the Ministry’s plan is the community-based parenting and support education programme, which is scheduled to begin in September. According to Dr. Byer Suckoo, the Ministry had already acquired some venues across the island and was looking to add more. "So far we have secured Carrington’s Wesleyan, St. James Parish Church, St. Michael’s Cathedral, Mayers Road Pentecostal, Youth with a Mission in Thickets, St. Philip, New Dimension Ministries in Barbarees Hill, this venue here at the Ministry of Education is another one, and we are looking for venues as well in the North and in the South," the Minister revealed.
Emphasising the need for partnerships, Dr. Byer Suckoo noted that her Ministry would be working with churches, parent teachers associations and schools to reach parents in the communities.??
The Minister of Family also underscored the need for parents to remember that their greatest duty was to their family and children. "While pursuit of a career and the pursuit of certain material things are worthwhile … there is none more noble, and none a greater investment in time and money, than parenting and the pursuit of a stable home, the rearing of well balanced and caring citizens and modelling for our children…?? We spend a lot of money because we want our children to excel academically, we want them to excel physically and athletically, but do we spend as much time and as much money in them becoming caring citizens??? The only way they will become caring citizens is when they spend time with us and we model for them what a caring citizen is like," she added.
Dr. Byer Suckoo also indicated that programmes on domestic violence and child abuse would also shortly be launched by her ministry.
The 11-week course was attended by 18 participants, four of whom were men. It covered five main areas: parenting, coping and managing, finding self, seeking help, and action planning.?? The second training of the trainers’ course will be held in January, next year.????