Two important ‘F’ words — fatherhood and finances — can often go hand in hand when it comes to manning up to your responsibilities. The Jamaican Dadz podcast recently had a riveting discussion at Coded Frolic E-Sport Bar & Jerk Lounge with a few fathers in the finance department at the National Commercial Bank (NCB). Lifestyle stayed on topic, asking the proud fathers present questions about fatherhood and finances.
Do you think today’s fathers have things harder or easier?
Dane Nicholson, manager, special investigations, NCB , and father of two: I believe it’s twofold. Yes, today’s fathers have it easier, and yes, they have it harder. When you look at having access to things today, fathers have it a lot easier. But when you look at the risk of raising your child in today’s kind of environment, it’s a lot more difficult than it was 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
What traditions have you passed on to your children?
Garth Williams, podcaster and producer, ‘Jamaican Dadz ‘, and father of two: In terms of traditions, my son is now the official toaster of the house. He finds a reason to celebrate everything, and we drink to everything. Obviously, they’re under 18, so they’re drinking juice. It really came about as a result of his seeing my friends and me toasting to more life. He likes that. But it came more to the fore in COVID-19, when we were all under lockdown and at home. I ensured that we all eat together, and he ensured that he made a toast for the occasion. Now that restrictions have been lifted, the tradition is still very much alive, with him cheering to something. That’s one big thing I’ve passed down, to celebrate life, moments and occasions through toasting.
What do you enjoy most about being a father?
Wayne Hunter, financial centre manager, NCB , Duke Stret , and father of three: I have all girls, and we have really close relationships. So I love when they are successful, when they do well academically, in sports, and speech. Whatever their circumstances are, I really share their joy. And when the children can actually make you very proud, see that you make serious sacrifices, and they reward you for those sacrifices with good performances, I enjoy that a lot.
Complete the sentence. Being a father means …
Marlon Campbell, podcaster and financial advisor, Sagicor Life Jamaica, and father of one: Being a father means everything to me. It really is a learning experience. It teaches you so much, and it’s an adventure every day. It’s not always a happy adventure, to be honest, and sometimes you’re tired. But being a dad really shows you that you can love someone so much that regardless of what the cost is to you, you’re willing to get up, show up for them and ensure that they are okay. I look forward to every single day with my child, and I look forward to seeing him grow over the years.
What was one of the hardest moments you had being a father, and what made it difficult?
Stennett Clarke, finance manager, retail banking division, and father of one: The mornings following my son’s birth were tough. Waking up at 1, 2, or 3 a.m. was hard because he was waking up regularly. We tried to work on a little system. Mommy decided on the system. And my shift was 5 and 6 a.m. and 7 and 9 a.m. The routine works for us, and we can get more sleep now that he is doing so, changing his two-hour to three and four hours, or even right through the night.
What is your fondest memory of being a dad?
Dennis Brooks, podcaster, senior communications strategist, Jamaica Constabulary Force, and father of one: My fondest memory by far would be the birth of my son. It was the culmination of so much anxiety, emotion and anticipation. You’re there for 38 weeks preparing for this reality. And I remember trying to be strong for his mom, and the moment when he came out and cried, I was just a mess; I turned to mush. That realisation that your life is never going to be the same again. It was so sobering, and that day was just surreal. I watch back the videos all the time. I’m reminded of how serious this is. I remember his first bath when they took him out because they called me dad for the first time. Wow, I’m dad.