Mother, Teacher, Hero!

As we observe Heritage Month and go back to school this October, we are pleased to celebrate an exemplary mother, teacher and hero in this week’s edition.

With two mouths to feed at the time, my mother, Mrs. Ermin Blossom, Mair, at one point in her life had to get ackee from the tree in the yard where we lived to hopefully exchange it for sugar at the shop down the road, in order to make sugar tea for supper that evening. A dignified respected teacher who put herself together well, no one really knew her troubles during those early years. But that is the sort of woman she has been; one who innovatively provides, relentless cares and proudly puts one foot after the other as she played her roles of exemplary teacher, faithful wife and devoted mother of six.

As a child I use to think mom was miserable. But as I look back I realize she was just stressed by all of the financial and emotional challenges in our family. The truth is that she was a hopeful striving woman. She would use tamarind and coconut to make treats for sale to augment her teacher’s salary and help make ends meet; ends that were as basic as us eating well and getting a sound education and as lofty as seeing the pantomime often, visiting Jamaica’s varied attractions (such as Coconut Park and Dunn’s River Falls) and going to Disney World when the opportunity arose. If you looked at her salary, we couldn’t afford those things. But if you looked in her heart and the strength of her determination, we would and we did. We grew up, educated and exposed to the great possibilities in the world. Now as adult children and parents ourselves, we can’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for the love and dedication of this woman who still mothers us to this day and spoils us if you ask me.

Certainly at different stages as children we didn’t deserve her sacrifice and kindness. I remember my teenage years when back answering was a main feature of our relationship. I remember the many times that I tested her faith, how I didn’t honour her but how she still held firm, dispensing discipline while cutting me some slack. I remember how she still loved me, covered me, and bore with me; how she provided for me and all of us, even in the face of lack and the many stressors in her life, including the albatross of a difficult marriage.

Tears come to my eyes now as I imagine the excruciating burdens at the time being exacerbated by the stinging ‘back chat’ of the feisty child I used to be. I know it was a stage, partially puberty, partially my frank personality, partially a heart that had not yet been made whole by faith, but I still look back and shake my head at myself for some of the disrespect that I showed her as a teenager. And even as I am shaking my head at myself, I am marveling at her grace. I remember the soft comfort of her duster (housedress) that we would rest our head upon when we got sick with chicken pox and measles and whatever other communicable diseases that was going around at the time; I remember the slow deliberate pacing of her slippers coming to check on us in the middle of the nights even when she was suffering with unappeasable migraine. Sacrificing for us was her way of life. And yet she thrived.

In addition to being a master teacher at the primary who has taught and studied both locally and internationally, her culinary and confectionary exploits led to involvement in many extracurricular activities. No wonder she was eventually tasked to develop the 4H programme at the various primary schools that she taught during her 30+year career. She can crotchet, make clothes and repair shoes! There isn’t much this girl from the rich red soils of St. Elizabeth cannot do!

Today I am happy to say that this overcoming woman who has done quite well for herself and has pumped thousands of dollars in our varied business and professional ventures; wisely warning when things don’t seem to make sense financially yet continuing to provide support to all 6 of us. Many a times you could find me, now a mother of 4, acting very much like a child at mom’s house where she would skillfully chop a coconut and pour it into a tall glass for me to drink when I am stressed about life and parenting. She is gracious, attentive and kind.

Plus she doesn’t have any ‘airs about her.’ So she is the kind of woman who makes real friends everywhere she goes and at every stage in her life. I suspect it is also because of her sense of humour and humility. When mom eventually bought her first second-hand car, we would always have someone who she was taking home. Soon enough, with the long hours to get home in Portmore all those years ago before the toll road was built, they would become her close friends and friends of the family. Even now well over 60 years, my mother has made a new close female friend. If you saw them you would almost think they grew up together. 

I am thankful that today this hardworking woman is now retired, well, sort of, because based on who she is, she can’t really stop working and contributing. She now teachers a grade 4 class online at a prep school in Kingston. Indeed more expert retired teachers could be brought into the mix virtually to strengthen the education system, pandemic or not. 

This tireless mother and educator will always have my love, admiration and respect. Today we are not merely mother and daughter, but close friends. There isn’t a relationship quite like a friendship between mother and daughter. Your mother knows you; knows the ugliness and the shortcomings as well as the talents and the beauty, and nevertheless loves you and will love you in and through all of your iterations. It is the closest thing to God’s love and that is why I honour her this heritage month. 

As we reflect on our history and celebrate our national heroes in this season, I choose to celebrate my personal hero – my teacher, my mother, my friend.

Who are the real life heroes in your life? Tell us by submitting a comment below!

Parental Burnout during COVID-19 | 7 Tips for Parents to Feel Well

Working mothers, fathers and other caregivers are having a really hard time during the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, it appears that those who work from home are burning the candle at both ends. They are trying to entertain their children, prepare exciting meals and get ready for back to school where some are dreading the idea of again taking on the ‘substitute teacher’ role at home. They are making these plans while at the same time trying to be fresh, on point, level headed and focused for video conference calls and strategy meetings and sitting down to actually do the work for which they were hired – all this in the same physical space and time with their buzzing children. It’s a lot. And it’s taking a toll on many.

Jennifer, who works from home, recently had to visit the doctor to get a checkup because she wasn’t feeling herself. After her doctor’s visit, she had to be placed on blood pressure medication and a stern instruction to make time for rest. Jennifer explains that balancing everything with home and work has been very difficult. She has an overactive toddler with no space at home for play in her small town house with limited green spaces so she has to entertain him by herself while doing an already high stress job.

Walric, a typically jovial risk analyst who always has a joke ready for office banter, now seems to go to the office only to escape from the stress of trying to balance home life and work. With a fuzzy beard and tired eyes, he explains that his three children are consistently hungry and bored, and now after weeks of life during Covid, he is oftentimes at a loss. He laments that the family’s grocery bill has gone up significantly, not only because the children are eating more at home but also because food prices seem to have gone up in recent weeks. He confesses that he feels bad when he says to his 5 year old, “are you really hungry again?” Recently he took his kids to the country for a weekend where they went to the beach and did a number of fun activities. “At home they are hungry 24/7 but while we were out there swimming and frolicking, they weren’t really hungry until after midday and they only had cereal for breakfast,” Walric marvels.

Keisha, a single parent, shares much of Walric and Jennifer’s experiences but adds that one of the issues that makes her feel even more stressed and helpless is when her 9 year old asks, “mommy, I don’t want to die from corona,” every time she overhears the news or a conversation among adults. Keisha’s other children also always need time to vent about various issues and developments since they no longer have daily relaxed in person access to their friends. It’s a lot.

There is no doubt about it – working parents have been having a hard time balancing everything during the pandemic. They may in fact be suffering from something known as parental burnout. Research, published on the Clinical Psychological Science website, notes that “parenting can be difficult, and when difficulties are experienced as being chronic or overwhelming, parental burnout may occur.” Jennifer, Walric and Keisha can certainly attest to feeling parental burnout. But what can they do?

  1. The experts recommend that people take regular breaks when facing traditional burnout. Maybe a 2-hour drive out for a fruit smoothie, green juice or ice cream for mommy or daddy only could help.
  2. Wellness blogger, Jeanette Burnette, who herself has battled burnout, insightfully recommended (in her recent Brunch-ish online conversation) establishing a rhythm of replenishing which involves solitude, reflection and observing ‘pockets of Sabbath’. Parents need this advice more than ever. In two parent households, mothers and fathers can alternate to afford each other these pockets. Single parent households will need to rope in the extended family where it is safe to do so in these Covid times.
  3. Exercise is known to reduce stress levels and improve wellbeing – don’t neglect to maintain a quick, structured routine in your schedule.
  4. Meditation and prayer are good for engendering peace, positivity and hopefulness. Parents could opt to carve out 30 minutes before kids wake in the morning or after they go to bed. Alternatively they could use their 2 hour drive out to also pray and meditate. They can use the popular Scripture in Philippians 4:8 as a frame for how to guide their thoughts during this time. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned[e] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” They can also use music to help put their minds in a good place.
  5. Go outside on the verandah (if you have one) or out in your yard and have a regular phone call with a friend or relative.
  6. See a medical doctor to rule out clinical depression or other medical issue that could be causing you to feel excessively drained or hopeless. Or get help from counselor or a pastor to improve mental health. Clinical psychologist Robyn Koslowitz notes that, “it’s imperative that primary
    care physicians and therapists learn about parental burnout, so they can educate their patients, be aware that these symptoms are distinct from clinical depression, and encourage their patients to access appropriate help.”
  7. And take a look at your nutrition habits and vitamin intake and make improvements as best as possible.

What else can parents do to overcome burnout?
Submit comments and queries below!

Children, Chores & Independence (Pt. 2): Husbands & Household Helpers

Last week we started looking at how families assign chores to help teach children responsibility and independence. This week we continue looking at how chores are assigned to children and other members of the household. We also see how the assignment of chores is impacted by having a household helper.

We have already seen how children and mothers share chores but what about fathers/husbands? Nahima, mother of 4 girls, aged 18 to 4 years old, discloses that her husband, Donovan, the main breadwinner and entrepreneur for a local tech business, does not have a particular assignment. Nahima had highlighted that each member of her household has a particular area of the house to take care. “Those areas are the washroom, the kitchen, the patio and the dog (which are combined), the living room, the dining room and hallway (which are combined) and someone gets one of those areas to take care of,” she explained. But her husband does not have any special area to take care of.

“Donovan does not do any of these jurisdictions. We tried having him involved in the chore scheduling but we found that when he was given a particular jurisdiction to do, his schedule was so unpredictable that even with the very best of intentions he would not be able to manage consistently enough and so things would get left undone. So what I have done is I have decided to take that pressure off of him and instead have him focus on 2 things which are taking out the garbage (and that’s garbage from all the rooms that have garbage bins) and taking care of the car,” the devoted wife of over 20 years explains.

Continuing, Nahima is quick to point out that Donovan not having an assigned chore “doesn’t mean that he doesn’t help with anything else, it just means that he is not responsible for it and I find that, that frees him up, frees him from guilt, frees him to pour his energy into the work that he does and it also has helped me with my own expectations to not be frustrated when the dishes are lying in the sink 24 hours after they were used.”

On the cooking side of things however, Donovan is very busy in the 6-person household. “He is responsible for breakfast and he also does Sunday dinner, so those are his areas. And then he helps around generally and if he feels like washing stuff any day he will chip in and wash those even though it’s not a part of his duty, which is also beautiful because it teaches all of us that we don’t have to be strict and stringent about what we do – we don’t say ‘this is not my area so I am not going to help’ but instead we can learn to serve each other,” Nahima admonishes.

Homeschooling mom of 3, Angela’s husband, Irwin is similarly not assigned to a chore per say but is involved with a little cooking and other activities. “Irwin is not on my chore schedule. He takes care of outside. He and my eldest son cut the grass (front and back and trim and rake). Irwin cooks when I need him to and he used to wash the dishes for the children on Friday nights. Some nights he will wash all for them and sometimes he helps them with washing,” Angela outlines. She was also delighted to share that “Irwin cooks us breakfast every Saturday morning. That is his gift to me because I am the main breakfast cooker. It lets me sleep late on Saturdays because almost every other morning I am up before him.” Irwin works outside the home and like Donovan is also the main breadwinner for his family.

By contrast, Sheila’s husband does not participate in household chores in general. Perhaps this is because their family has a household helper. Sheila and husband Winston who have 4 children, both work outside the home and so they rely on a household helper to get household tasks done. “There is no doubt about it, we definitely need a household helper but the challenge I face with this dynamic is ensuring that our children learn how to take care of a home and themselves,” Sheila confesses.

“So while I have my helper do the big tasks of cleaning and cooking, I assign the children dishwashing, sweeping and general tidying of the spaces. I also require that they spread their own beds every morning. Of course I have to work with my helper on this and tell her what she must not do or hide and do for the children. I want them to learn to do basic tasks,” Sheila insists.

Furthermore “since COVID-19 with our helper not being with us consistently, the kids have had to learn to cook more and that has been a blessing,” Sheila adds, noting that “they still have a lot to learn in terms of cooking meats and more complex meals.” Interestingly, Winston doesn’t participate in household chores today but Sheila says that he used to help with bathing the children and getting them ready for school when they were little.

How do you manage household chores in your home? Tell us by submitting a comment below or sending an email to .

Names have been changed for privacy purposes.

Children, Chores & Independence

Did you know that making your bed every morning is somehow linked to improved productivity in the long run, a sense of general well being and the ability to stick to a budget? That’s what Charles Duhigg found in his bestselling book The Power of Habit. Parents have long accepted the enduring value in helping their children form positive habits but these benefits put forward by Duhigg certainly help to reinforce a mother and father’s resolve.

One of the key ways to develop positive habits in children is assigning them chores. A chore is a routine household task, such as spreading your bed, doing the dishes or taking out the garbage. According to Baylor College of Medicine, “giving children simple chores can help them learn responsibility and independence from an early age and ease the transition to adulthood,” which is a relevant and opportune way to reflect on emancipation and independence with your kids this season.

Simone is a single mother of two: a 16-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl. She tells that “routines are very important, especially for my son. My daughter is more free spirited and is more of a challenge.” They both nevertheless have chores. “For example with washing the dishes everybody has their day and my day is on a Sunday so they alternate the days of the week and then there are some set things that each person is assigned and they own it – my son is assigned to take out the garbage and my daughter is assigned to taking the clothes off the line and fold and sweep up,” the dedicated working mother explained. As it pertains to cleaning the bathrooms, Simone says “my son cleans his bathroom. I clean the other bathroom. My daughter needs to take on some of that,” she confesses.

Married mother of two boys ages 16 and 7 years old and one girl age 11, Angela shares that maintaining and managing a routine of household chores for her kids is a constant work in progress. The Jamaican born mom who now lives in the United States has a very structured system of reward for chores. “I have a thing where they earn time to use electronics, specifically using the computer to watch whatever they want to watch. They get a base time that is freely given and then they have a maximum of a certain amount of minutes that they can get if they complete a certain number of things (chores).”

Moreover, the way chores are assigned has evolved over time. “There was a time when they were younger when I would call the names with all the duties listed and I would have a time for check off. They use to earn rewards, they use to earn money all kinds of things… but right now the easiest way for us is that there is a standard list of things they have to do and there are 3 slots on that list that involve routines and housework. So there is category called chores and there is a category called mom reserves one and mom reserves 2. So there is a set chore they have to do and then mom reserves is literally whatever I reserve that I want done in that slot and that can be housework or something else. And then each week I hand write a list for the 3 of them and the 3 slots,” the super organized homeschooling mom described, noting that her mantra is that “in families, we help each other.”

Angela’s children also chip in with cleaning the bathrooms. “We have 3 bathrooms. Downstairs is a half bathroom so we use the half bathroom most since we are downstairs a lot. So we try to get that bathroom cleaned twice a week and the upstairs bathroom that has the bath we try to get those cleaned once a week and then have an additional day when all toilets get cleaned. So we cycle through the 2 older ones doing those duties,” the attentive mother reveals.

Nahima, another homeschooling mom of 4 girls ranging from around 18 years to 4 years, who also works to support her husband’s tech business in Jamaica, provides a different perspective on how chores can be assigned. “We have gone through many iterations of chores schedules over the years – currently what we are doing is having a cycle. So I focus on a few main areas – those areas are the washroom, the kitchen, the patio and the dog (which are combined), the living room, the dining room and hallway (which are combined) and so what we do each week is that someone gets one of those areas to take care of. So for example I am on kitchen duty this week that means washing all dishes, wiping down the counters, sweeping the kitchen, wiping off the stove top etc,” she outlines.

But Nahima being on kitchen duty doesn’t mean that others don’t help out. “We try to encourage each other to be considerate so that if you use something you wash up the thing that you use. But there is always stuff that gets left behind from cooking or if somebody uses something and they end up going out for whatever reason then their stuff gets left behind and so on, and that’s fine, but we try to make sure we wash what we use and the person on duty washes up everything else,” Nahima shares. When it comes to cleaning bathrooms, she says that “I clean the bathroom that my husband and I use. The girls are responsible for theirs. I am a little pickier about bathrooms so they are asked to clean their bathroom at least twice a week because it’s very heavy duty usage.”

The experienced mom adds that “I use to give the girls rewards for chores but the main thing I want to emphasize now is that chores are part of being good stewards of the spaces that they occupy. Its preparation for them when they leave the house to become roommates in college or if they are going to get married. (So it’s about them) just learning how to take care of a space that you share with somebody else and learning how to manage your time and resources so I am trying to emphasize that.”

Next week, join us for part 2 of Children, Chores & Independence.
Names have been changed for privacy purposes.

Submit comments and queries below!

Father’s Day Edition | Raising Strong Boys and Repairing Broken Men

Raising Strong Boys and RepairingBroken Men is the timely theme for the June | Father’s Day Edition of Familyand Faith Magazine. Shorter than the previous documentary at 22 minutes, this throwback edition features impactful Christian men and their testimonies of faith, fatherhood and restoration. They include: Altano Morgan, manufacturer of ICAN; Robert Dixon, Principal of Operation Restoration Christian School and Dr. Wayne Henry, Economist and Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica. The documentary also connects with three promising young boys – Israel Redwood, Seth Ridgard and Luke Ridgard.

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In keeping with the theme, the documentary, which was sponsored by the Jamaica Broilers Group, provides godly advice on raising strong boys.

In the documentary, Principal, Robert Dixon asserts that, “Children spell love – T-I-M-E. We have to spend time with our children. For both my son and the children at school I see my life as a foundation for these students.” The young principal advances that, “For my son, yes his foundation, his identity is linked to me to who I am and to who I am in Christ but for my students who have no other foundation who probably don’t know their father, can I be that foundation for them? Can I be so secure in myself that they can build their life on who I am and what I stand for?”

For his part, Dr. Wayne Henry points to three strategies for growing strong boys. First, he says it’s important “to be present, to be alongside, to be near.” Then, “There must be instruction and advice. Solomon, he said, listen to my advice son, heed my warning and you will prosper.” His third nugget of wisdom is the need to show boys lessons and principles by example. “A lot of times we are too willing to say “do as I say and not as I do” and there is a key of leadership that we miss where Paul says follow me as I follow Christ. “We don’t invite people to follow us. Part of leadership, part of mentoring is that you have to be that example. The willingness to put on display even with your mistakes and your flaws, that example,” the father of 3 insists.

Manufacturer and motivational speaker, Altano Morgan adds that the key to raising a strong boy is teaching him that there is a God, a Father who loves him despite the challenges he comes across in life. “There is a father there that will take care of him. There is a father there that wants the best for him. Even as an earthy father you are not going to be there every time to guide him and to teach him and all the different things, but when you tell him about the Father up above who is looking down with his tender love, showing you, guiding you, directing you, that’s the fundamental foundation for me for raising a strong boy,” Morgan declares.

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President and Founder of Family and Faith Magazine, Shelly-Ann Harris feels turning the spotlight on boys and men is vital at this time. “The data is showing us that in many ways we are failing our boys, so we felt it was very important to focus on how to raise boys and restore broken men for our Father’s Day Edition, which balances our recent focus on women in the Easter Edition that was released a couple months ago,” Harris explains. Watch Now!

Submit comments and queries below!

What Can Families do this Summer?

June marks the beginning of summer but of course this holiday will be different from any other summer in living memory! Older teens will have exams in July and younger kids won’t have the freedom to freely frolic as in previous years. Plus travelling overseas to visit family, friends and exciting foreign destinations is likely to be a no-no. So what can families do this summer? Well, if the Government goes ahead and reopens the economy and the COVID-19 virus continues to be contained, there may be a few activities that can keep the family happy and engaged with the world in the upcoming holiday!

  • Road trips – pack the car with food, sanitizer, masks and change of clothes and take the family on road trips across our breathtaking island! There is so much you can still go out and see while of course continuing to wear a mask and maintaining proper hygiene.
  • Start a home garden together and see the beauty of watching something grow! It’s a great reminder that even though so much is out of our control, we can still sow, reap and experience the wonders of life. Peppers and tomatoes are easy to grow and reap in 2 months!
  • Use those smartphones and tablets to capture videos of all that adventure and make family movies. Add those movies to your blockbuster hits for family movie night at home!

Do you have any cool ideas for how to keep the family happy and engaged this summer? Comment below!

Mothers, Helpers and Balancing Home & Work during COVID-19

Working women across the world have taken on at least another 2 or 3 homebased jobs during this COVID-19 season – teacher, chef and maid – and this of course while continuing their traditional primary roles of mother and wife. In Jamaica, the burden is no different. However one of the factors that has made it even more difficult for working women in Jamaica is not having the support of a household helper which is a common feature in many homes. It has become problematic or at best, tricky, to continue to benefit from having a household helper given the social distancing and stay at home precautionary measures required to keep COVID-19 at bay. Helpers, after all, can’t work from home.

Renee is a marketer who lives alone with her 4 children ranging from 3 years to 14 years of age. She relies heavily on her mother and her helper to help care for the children, prepare meals, clean and do laundry, among other activities. But with the advent of COVID-19, Renee has to work from home and directly take on the management of the household. She is immensely stretched as her helper who lives in St. Catherine was unable to come to work for 2 weeks due to the lockdown in the parish. And then after the lockdown was lifted, Renee was reluctant to have her helper take public transportation and come into their home to care for the children. “Social distancing is not possible when you have a helper bathing your toddler and feeding her meals,” Renee insists. So she has asked her helper to stay at home, even though she continues to pay her salary. Renee has also lost the help of her mom who is over 65 with underlying health conditions and who has not been feeling well since the crisis escalated locally.

There is a huge upside however. Renee says her older children have now started to help with laundry and to make some of the family meals. “It’s not easy at all, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was grateful for how my children have had to become more responsible and helpful. They have stepped up,” the marketer confessed. “I have to continue to work and they have to do school online and we all simply have to pitch in to make things work,” she reasoned. The older children have to also take turns with watching their 3 year old sibling but that is not always seamless. “Sometimes I am doing video meetings and my 3 year old will just run into my room and I say, ‘mommy, I need to pee, I need to pee’ or ‘mommy can I have some juice please’,” Renee reveals laughing.

However the pressure is expected to ease a bit when the family’s helper returns to work in the next week or two, depending on the rate of local transmission. She is expected to work every other week and Renee’s children are expected to continue with their chores of washing dishes, laundry and tidying up not only their room but the whole house. “This is the silver lining in all this. Finally getting my children to not only pitch in but also to recognize the value in all the things required to take care of our home and each other,” the mother of 4 concludes.

Jennifer is another mother struggling to balance all her responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Married with 2 daughters, ages 15 and 9, Jennifer runs her own consultancy firm. Even though her family can more than afford a helper, they had been trying without success to find a suitable person who could live-in from before the health crisis. Now, with COVID-19 precautions, they no longer see it as a feasible/ safe option. Moreover, with both Jennifer and her husband Paul having to go into office from time to time, this has meant leaving the children unsupervised on a few occasions. Eventually Jennifer had to make a decision to work from home, contending that “the office must be able to function without me being physically present.” Now she is able to closely supervise school projects and other activities for the children while doing most of the ironing. Her husband Paul, who does most of the meal preparations, still goes into office but with Jennifer anchoring things at home, they are reaping the benefits of investing more time in family and saving money they would have ordinarily paid a live-in housekeeper.

Medical Doctor, Sandra has a 16 year old girl and 14 year old boy. Her family still has the benefit of a helper who comes in daily. However the helper does not take public transportation. Sandra’s husband, who also works full time, picks her up and drops her home every day to reduce her risk of contracting the virus on a bus or in a public space. Sandra who works extremely long hours in one of the major public hospitals also has very strict personal protocols to help keep herself and her family safe. Of
course, she dons all the necessary personal protective equipment and observes all the protocols at the hospital but at home she takes other steps which include quickly again changing her clothing and showering before seeing her family. Additionally, Sandra has chosen to avoid all direct contact with her elderly parents to eliminate the risk of them contracting the virus from her, in the event that she has it and is asymptomatic. For Mother’s Day, she sent her mom a beautiful heartfelt message and transferred a financial gift to her mom’s account. It’s the first time she has not seen her mother on Mother’s Day but she reasons that it is a small price to pay to keep her safe.

No doubt, women have had to balance work, home and extenuating circumstances for a long time. Without much fanfare or applause many of them remain faithful to keeping their families fed, safe and cared for regardless of the current of health crisis.

Submit Comments and queries below!

What Husbands & Wives Need from Each Other

Did you know that one of the main reasons people go to see a counsellor is to solve a marital conflict?How is your marriage doing and what are your relationship goals? Today, Family and Faith Magazine takes you to marriage counselling with no less than renowned marriage counsellor and CEO of Family Life Ministries, Dr. Barry Davidson, who reveals that 40% of engaged couples who come to see him eventually decide not to get married! That’s a large percentage! The good news however is that it also means that 60% are prepared for the journey and to get the tools they need to succeed in their marriage. Part of that preparation involves understanding the needs of your spouse. Dr. Davidson explains that a happy marriage is where you have needs fulfillment; where both husband and wife understand and strive to meet each other’s needs.

So, what are those needs? According to the experienced marriage counsellor, a wife has 5 primary needs.

  1. The need for affection – That doesn’t just mean sex. Wives need to be made to feel valued, cared for and important in their husband’s life.

2. The need for conversation. From a woman’s perspective there are 3 aspects to conversation – a. Information, where her husband shares with her what is going on in his life and she shares what’s going in her life and so on; b. Investigation where questions are asked and answered; and c. Understanding – she wants her husband to try to understand her.

3. The need for total trust, openness and honesty. She needs to know that she can trust her husband and that she is the only woman in his life; that she doesn’t have to worry about getting STIs, HIV etc.

4. The need for financial security and support – She needs to have a husband who is going to play his part financially. She is not necessarily asking him to make more money than her but she
wants for him to pull his weight. She doesn’t want to think she has a big son. She wants to know that she has a partner, a husband.

5. She needs her husband to be a good father to the children – Being a good father isn’t just about being a provider, it is being able to give the children time and attention and being a positive role model for the children.

Here now are the primary needs of a husband.

 Most husbands need sexual fulfillment – Not that the wife obliges them or feels sorry for them or is going to give in to them or not have a head ache tonight but that their wife is in fact interested in sex as much as they are. Moreover, what husbands will tell you is that if their wife initiates lovemaking it has the ability to transform a mundane black and white existence into living glorious technicolour and so that is a very important need for most husbands.

 The need for companionship – recreational, social intellectual. A husband needs his wife to go places with him, to do things with him and think through issues together.

 The need for a wife to maintain her physical attractiveness. Most men are meeting attractive women out there and so they want to go home and see their wife not wearing an ‘old frock’ but rather a husband needs his wife to stimulate him and maintain her attractiveness – it is very important.

 Most men want their wives to be a domestic manager, not a domestic helper but a manager who manages the home and makes sure things are done properly and in good order.

 The final need that most men have is not to be constantly criticized. Men don’t want their wives to constantly complain but rather a husband wants his wife to be more affirming, to stroke his ego, to make him feel larger than life!

According to Dr. Davidson, if these needs are being met, the wife and the husband will experience happiness which psychologists define as the beautiful experience of having someone to love who will in turn love you back.

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God’s Grace After Losing a Baby

How does a woman recover after losing a baby she carried and loved in her womb for 9 months? Moreover, how does she recover after losing more than one of those babies? If we learn anything from one special woman’s story, we learn that it is by nothing less than God’s grace. Family and Faith
Magazine caught up with the beautiful, soft-spoken powerhouse Founder and Director of Laud Dance Ministries, Nickeisha Antonette Jones who recalled when she had a miscarriage as a young mother and how she was tempted to take her life.

“The nurse said don’t push until I come back so as a first-time mother, if the nurse gives you an instruction even if you feel like pushing, you are gonna close your legs. So that’s what I did and it ended up sending the baby in distress because the baby defecated inside of me and inhale it and later on the pediatrician that came to talk to me said that if the baby lived she would have been a vegetable,” Nickeisha recounts.

A miscarriage can certainly be one of the hardest emotional and physical experiences for women, especially for a young mother. To make things worse, the hospital where Nickeisha delivered her stillborn placed her in the same space with women who had just delivered their babies safely.

“So that was like torture. I remember when I was laying down on my bed, it was 4 persons in our cubicle and when I looked over I saw this teenager who I had learned worked in the market. She didn’t have anything. And another lady was there and she wasn’t married or anything and ‘the enemy’ just came in. I literally just felt a presence sat on my bed, it sank. And he was like ‘you do praise and worship, you dance, so whe your God deh, whe your baby deh?’ And he showed me the young lady who wasn’t married and the lady who wasn’t married with their babies and he showed me some other persons and I just draw the screen around myself. And he was saying to me, when the nurses do the last call just tell them that you are going to the bathroom, go all the way to the top and jump off the building cause you don’t have no purpose.”

Nickeisha was so broken by the experience that she had decided in her heart to jump. However, God in the nick of time, sent one of His servants to encourage Nickeisha during this dark moment. Nickeisha remembers an African nurse who was to do the last check on the ward that night.

“She asked, ‘why is the screen drawn?’ You are not supposed to draw the screen because we have to see the baby. And the other lady who was across the bed told her that I lost my baby and then the nurse said, oh. And when she pulled the screen she just started to pray and she started cover my mind. She said ‘The Lord is going to give you a child that you think is like 10 children’ (which is now my son), and He is going to allow you to do things and she started to prophecy over my life and when she did that I started to feel different. I was actually planning out everything (to jump off the building) but when she was leaving she said God loves you and I will see you tomorrow and I said ok. And by the time she left, the place wasn’t so gloomy anymore and so I started to go over to the ladies and I went to the teenager and I said where is your stuff? And she said her mother don’t bring it yet, she will bring it in the morning.And I took up most of my baby stuff and I gave it to her and the other ladies and I just start walking around and giving away all the things. The only thing I kept was a blanket my mother bought and a booty.”

Since that time Nickeisha experienced other miscarriages but she is happy for the two wonderful children – a talented daughter and son – who God allowed her to have. The phenomenal dancer and mother is certainly a woman of faith who has experienced God’s hand in her life and now more than anything else she just wants to make Him smile, through dance.

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He is ‘Full Hundred’ & She is the ‘Proverbs 31’ Wife!

Intentional friendship in a marriage is vital for it long term success; it’s like the oxygen that keeps love flowing. Family and Faith Magazine caught up with beautiful and fun-loving couple, Raymond and Sophia Campbell to glean some insights on how they are keeping their marital friendship alive.

Married for 19 years, Raymond and Sophia have two children – Naomi, 11 years-old and Nathan, 13 years old. Raymond, a sales consultant, and Sophia, an HR Executive and author of Life Lessons Devotional & Journal – A 14 day Journey still delight in each other after almost 2 decades.

FFM: What do you love most about your husband?

Sophia: Commitment – I call him “full hundred”. His favorite bible verse found in 1Corinthians 13 is “LOVE NEVER FAILS”. A good example of this was when I went through and especially difficult career challenge. Raymond was committed to seeing the process (over 2 years) through alongside me, so much so at the end of it, he was recognized a “Consultant” on my team. He never waivered in his commitment to me and I am very grateful then and now.

FFM: What do you love most about your wife?

Raymond: I love her passion for God, me and our family in general. She shows this every day in the way she encourages us all to set goals, for example, spiritual, personal/academic, the expansion of our talents. Music (violin) for Nathan; Dancing (ballet) for Naomi, Ministry and co-author for me. Also, with her entrepreneurial spirit and drive, she spearheaded the creation of Nathan’s Violin Solos for our son & Naomi’s by Design (custom jewelry business with our daughter Naomi). She helps us to all reach for
higher heights in all areas of our lives as individuals and as a family as well! I am, we are truly blessed to have her in our lives. She is our Proverbs 31 wife/mother!

FFM: Describe 2 things that you each intentionally do to keep your friendship thriving in your marriage?

Raymond: Because I know Sophia loves dancing, I would take her out to Waterfalls on a Thursday night at least once a month and we would just enjoy each other’s company, look forward to both sharing time together eating fritters and soup and of course dancing.

Secondly, I purchase her favorite desserts – fruit and nut ice cream and chocolate ever so often.

Sophia – I make “lunch time” calls and we share the events that have occurred so far in the day and secondly I do impromptu lunch time dates!

FFM: What advice do you have for married couples whose friendship has waned?

Sophia & Raymond:

 Continue to do the things you use to do for each like when you first met and improve upon it.
 Be honest in communicating with each other in a loving and respectful way.
 Be able to laugh at and with each other – keep your sense of humor alive! Don’t be afraid to seek Godly counsel such as a mentor, a senior married couple or counselor.
 Finally, don’t sweat the small stuff, always open your heart to forgiveness and reconciliation, because LOVE NEVER FAILS!

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