Fathers must accept full responsibility for making “real men” out of their sons, by being good role models and mentors and by sharing joint responsibility for raising their children along with mothers “in order to put our country back on track” Minister of National Security the Hon. O.A.T. “Tommy” Turnquest said Thursday, April 24.

The choice is clear. If you don’t want to be a father; if you don’t want to accept responsibility for a child, then don’t father one, Mr. Turnquest said.

Addressing a Father-Son Seminar, Mr. Turnquest said the inability, or lack of commitment on behalf of some men to develop “special” Father/Son relationships with their sons, is negatively impacting the country via an increase in crime and violence held at St. John’s College Auditorium

Mr. Turnquest said so much is riding on that special relationship between a father and his son because as fathers, we have been given a special role and responsibility in our families and for our children as protectors and providers.

Our commitment and contribution to our families is essential to the strength, growth and stability of our families, our children and by extension, our communities, Mr. Turnquest said.

The best way for a boy to transition in a decent way to a man is to follow in the footsteps of his father (as) a cursory look at traditional societies show that the rite of passage from boy to man, for the most part, happens in the care and control, if not the company, of his father.

A boy will become man as surely as night follows day, Mr. Turnquest continued, the kind of man he becomes, however, very much depends on how his life has been influenced, has been touched by his father, as he makes that transition from boy to man.

Minister Turnquest said the family – father, mother and children – in The Bahamas is under stress in our modern-day Bahamas.

He said the breakdown in the traditional family system as we know it” has occurred as a result of men not playing the proper roles they should be playing in the lives of their families and children, particularly their sons.

As fathers and sons, we can all agree that there are troubling signs on the horizon of our modern Bahamas and they are especially affecting our young men and boys, Mr. Turnquest said. A spiraling crime rate brings perpetrators into our criminal justice system, our police stations, courts and our prisons and by today’s count, there are more than 1300 inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison, the vast majority of whom are men, particularly young men.

Daily we hear on the news of conflict and confusion and even murder in our schools, our homes and on our streets. Sadly, the perpetrators of these crimes are usually our young men. We lead best by good example and by being good role models and mentors (to our sons), Mr. Turnquest added.

The National Security Minister said good fatherhood teaches young men to have respect for family values. He said statistics for 2006 showed that 52 per cent of the babies born in The Bahamas that year were to single mothers.

Sadly too many of our young men regard having a baby as a girl’s thing or a woman’s thing and it is not. It is a parent’s thing,” Mr. Turnquest said. “The choice is clear for young men; if you don’t want to be a father, if you don’t want to accept responsibility for a child, then don’t father one.

Mr. Turnquest said good fatherhood also teaches boys that they should possess common sense to know right from wrong, good from bad and to embrace what is right and to shun what is wrong,

Good fatherhood also teaches a sense of self-worth, the importance of two-way communication and that a male does not have to get into conflict, confusion and squabbles to prove that you are a man.

Good fatherhood further teaches a young man about values; about placing value on a good education, honest work, integrity and faith and not on material things. It teaches him a sense of responsibility – don’t father a child if you cannot be a father to that child – and it should teach him a sense of direction.

Once a young man has a sense of direction, he can – along with his parents and people of positive influence – chart a course as to how to get there, Mr. Turnquest added.