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Fathers talk health choices, changes


FOR some men, fatherhood is a step in a new direction that requires a necessary and healthier lifestyle. Today, in recognition of Father’s Day, four dads share what potentially harmful practices they had to say goodbye to when they said hello to parenthood.

Your Health Your Wealth asked them the following question: “Are there any health-influenced decisions you’ve made since becoming a father?”

Damian Franklyn, 63

“I stopped drinking, big time! The drinking was heavy because it was something I come see my father and my uncles doing. Them going to the bar on our lane was a regular thing and, as I got older, I just developed the habit. Trust me, going to a bar was like a hobby…it’s like a dat mi mind tell mi fi do when mi nuh have nothing else fi do,” he said.

“It’s not that mi did think seh mi was a threat to mi son or nothing; it was more threatening to me. And, mi never want to leave my son without a father. Mi did get a likkle sugar [diabetes] scare and from then, mi tek up mi life inna mi hand and run wid it. Doctor tell mi seh mi a play wid mi life, and I know that a never my life alone at play. So, no more drinking. The drinking mess with yuh mind too, suh yuh nuh memba say that fi buy, or that fi pay fah, or that must tek care of. And when dem things deh happen, a di baby fall short,” he said.

Earl Jones, poet

“I remember one time I was carrying home mi daughter and a drink [liquor] and she said, ‘Daddy, the teacher seh wi nuh fi drink and drive.’ And I stopped drinking and driving with her. She was six, and she is 36 now. It made me feel awful. It was touching, and I know that it was the truth.

“I knew that you’re not supposed to drink and drive and when she told me that, I took the corrective measures. Mi never drink and drive with her again, or even [when] alone. Never! And that will never happen again. I don’t really drink that much. I don’t wake up every day and smoke, and I don’t wake up every day and drink,” he said.

Owen McCarthy, 53

“I started eating healthier; fruits and vegetables became a part of my diet. And it wasn’t a straight out decision I made at first but when I realised, I definitely continued. Having young babies around the house enuh, yuh pantry completely change. Yuh start buying fruits and healthy foods for their development and, unconsciously, you start eating better,” the mechanic said of his now 13- and 15-year-old daughters.

He added: “You wake up early to give them breakfast and, as a result, you find yourself preparing and eating breakfast, too. Before [them], I [would’ve] started eating at lunchtime; the most I would have in the morning was a cup of tea when I had the time. Breakfast was never a priority at all. And, even now when they’re older, you have to watch how you cook for them. Nothing too salt and things like that. As time passed, I adapted all those habits, happily.”

Dwayne Speid, taxi operator

“I used to drink hard and smoke, but mi decide fi change mi life and start do the right thing and live by Christian principle. It was before I became a father, because when I was growing I tend to stick with the elders…the positive people. Those were people who I could learn something from and take a page out of their book.

“When I got my son, I had already stopped the drinking and smoking a long time ago. I’m not perfect, but I don’t do those things anymore. I told my son to always tell me the truth and be honest and so forth. As time progresses, I try to teach him step by step; he’s just six. So like drinking and so [on], I will tell him more about those to instil certain values when the time is right and he’s old enough to understand,” he said.

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