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Strong sense of family


Gercine Carter

Strong sense of family

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Rommell Edwards’ life is centred around his children. His job as a software developer, demanding and important as it is, just fits in.
“What I like most about fatherhood is being in their world,” says the 40-year-old father, who submits to a hectic weekly pace of ferrying his four-year-old son Malik and ten-year-old step-daughter Anisa to their various activities. There is also one-year-old Amir.
“Every day of the week somebody has something to do, so there are no free days. But I thoroughly enjoy it.”  
Despite it all, he says fatherhood has brought him an immense sense of responsibility, and a sense of peace.
“The only complaint you will hear from me is if I get hungry, but the children will never know. I try to shield them from any complaint I have.”
Like his father, Malik is already into tae kwondo, on the way to securing a yellow belt. Anisa is into gymnastics and does dancing at well. She is on the national gymnastics team and would also like to get into martial arts, for which she does not currently have the time.
He reflected on his own childhood as the son of a military father and remarked, “It has allowed me to continue the tradition of family because I had a very good relationship with both my parents.”
Rommell noted the ways his father compensated for long periods away from his family and it did not escape him that when his dad was at home “it was almost as if he had never been gone”. That strong sense of family inculcated by his parents guides him and he intends to pass it on to his children that they too may have “very fond childhood memories” when they grow up.
When he first became a father at age 36, his reaction was a mixture of fascination and fear – fear of venturing into the unknown realm of parenting . . . . “But you use your instincts, you learn from other people’s stories . . .”.
He was present at the birth of his first son and said witnessing that delivery provoked a greater sense of appreciation for the mother of his child. “What it has done for me is to give me a completely new respect for a woman.”
“When my second son was born, I had to be there as well. I thought I could not be any more fascinated and awestruck by a female but with the second one, it was a fresh renewal of that respect and being more thankful for what my mother would have done.”
He likes the idea of being the source of these lives and the fact that he and their mother are the ones charged with the responsibility to guide them through the early stages of life, “To show them the good and filter out the bad.”
Striking his children as a means of discipline is an act of last resort for Rommell, and discipline is a challenge, not because he does not want to employ it, but in the way it should be administered.
His difficulty is finding the words “to explain to a little person in their terms what they did wrong.”
He is confident however that he will overcome this, just as he conquered the sleep deprivation he suffered at the baby stages. “I am a DJ and I am used to late and sleepless nights but when these children came into my life it was by far more tiring.”
Still, he coped. In the process, he was constantly reminded by his mother of idiosyncrasies in his own childhood and he detects similar traits in his son Malik. Rommell practices martial arts and likes car racing. His first love was aviation and he did consider becoming a pilot. Four-year-old Malik loves to engage in outdoor activities with his dad. The two go plane-watching and attended the recent all-stage rally.
When it comes to computer technology, Malik is a natural, as his father realised when he saw his son at age two take up his mother’s phone navigate with ease through the educational apps for kids which she had put on the phone.
And he continues to try to keep them abreast of the technology because he understands how it will guide their life. This is their age and he wants to ensure they are on top of it.
Anisa loves being with her stepdad and though her biological father has always had a role in her life, the first time Anisa called him “daddy” jolted Rommell into a reality that this also had to be his role because it was clearly the way his stepdaughter saw him.
A firm believer in the Almighty himself, he wants his children to believe there is a God and “to put God first no matter what other people might try to tell them.” The next important goal is education.
“I want them to understand that education is a must.”

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