Declaring that he is not a drop-off dad, Howard Williams is proud to be among the two most outstanding fathers involved in the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) at Bermaddy Primary School in Treadways, Linstead, St Catherine.
He visits the school so often to check up on his seven-year-old daughter Monique, she now has an expectation that he will show up almost daily.
“I am not the drop-off father; I don’t drop her off at school and gone. I am the type of father weh come inside the office and inside the classroom and mek sure I know what’s going on,” the single parent told The Beacon.
He explained that his daughter’s mother is still alive, but he is the one who has custody of her. He does virtually everything for Monique, including cook, wash and sometimes comb her hair.
Williams lamented that, based on his observation, an overwhelming majority of fathers don’t attend PTA meetings or otherwise show up at Bermaddy Primary to support their children.
“We have 100 or more kids in the school and when something is happening only about three, four or five fathers show up,” he added. At the time The Beacon met Williams, he was at the school attending a ceremony hosted by the PTA to hand over 20 desks and chairs to the institution.
The father-of-five said his childhood experience has motivated him to become a great dad. He recalled being almost 40 years old when he started communicating with his father. The two previously did not have a relationship.
The younger Williams grew up at Bermaddy district with his late maternal grandmother, Lena Davis. He attended Bermaddy Primary School as well as McGrath High for a relatively short period of time. When he was 13, he went abroad to live with his mother.
“I never feel too good about my father when I was growing up; I never really have feeling for him,” Williams said. “I tell myself that I never going to make my kids grow up with that kind of feeling towards me as a father. Whatever I have to do, I do. I set them straight on the right track.”
Williams is often on the receiving end of commendation for the deep interest he shows in his daughter’s schooling and general welfare.
President of the PTA at Bermaddy Primary, Amoy Levers, said: “Mr Williams is a dedicated father. I tell him all the while that I lift my hat to him. When we have PTA meetings, he is ever present and vocal and he has action behind it as well. It is not all the time that you see fathers really stepping up.”
Levers also highlighted the effort Williams exerted recently when schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She explained that he was often seen assisting his daughter with online classes while at the front of the grocery shop he operates in Bermaddy. In addition to the grocery shop, Williams, up to recently, was a taxi operator.
He is also being lauded by Christopher Armstrong, another outstanding father who also is vice president of the PTA at Bermaddy Primary. “Mr Williams is a very good parent. For years, I was the only stand-out male parent at Bermaddy Primary. I am happy to have Mr Williams onboard and he is so far doing a great job. When I am unavailable, he is there [as the other active father at the school],” Armstrong said.
Williams’ daughter, Monique, is grateful for the love and support she is getting from her dad.
“He is a really great father and I love him. And he help me with my homework and get me ready for school. The first thing when school start he told me that, when it is school time, mi and him not friend, but we are friends when it is not school time,” the child told The Beacon.
Williams, in the meantime, encouraged more fathers to show up at their children’s school.
“It would make a big difference in dem life,” he added. “I am praying that me and the couple fathers that I see [showing up for their children] set an example for fathers out there to follow.”
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