Fun-lov­ing dad gives son pedi­cure, relishes fa­ther­hood ToDD with love

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - An­dré Williams/Staff Re­porter an­dre.williams@glean­erjm.com

FULL-TIME CRIME fighter and fa­ther Rafe­lito Lafay­atte is al­ways thrilled to speak of his three chil­dren, whether it’s about clip­ping toe nails and wash­ing feet dur­ing his pedi­cures or other ac­tiv­i­ties they par­tic­i­pate in as they spend qual­ity time to­gether.

“From you have kids, you must can talk about it from you a take part in their lives,” he said as he sat down with The Gleaner.

The proud fa­ther of three chil­dren – 16-year-old Ja­mar, nine-year-old Gabriel, and six-year-old Justin – is be­ing dubbed Fa­ther of the Year by many so­cial me­dia users af­ter a video be­gan mak­ing the rounds of Lafayette treat­ing his youngest son Justin to a pedi­cure.

“Dem call me and tell me that’s how fa­ther and son to live,” he said, beam­ing.

He is not new to such ac­co­lades as he of­ten draws the ad­mi­ra­tion of per­sons see­ing his in­ter­ac­tion with the chil­dren.

“One of my bredrin tell me say when him see me and them the other day, wa­ter full his eyes be­cause that’s how he wants to live with his chil­dren,” said Lafayette, who added that he en­joys play­ing video games with his boys – “es­pe­cially my big son”.

“I bought a PlaySta­tion, so some­times we a play games til mid­night. As long as he doesn’t have any school or him fin­ish his as­sign­ment, we still a play game, cook and run boat, and do ev­ery lit­tle thing,” Lafayette said. “The lit­tle one now, we have to play his games like Mor­tal Kom­bat and have a good time.”

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that not all fa­thers and their chil­dren – es­pe­cially sons – have model re­la­tion­ships, Lafayette says this could have an im­pact on so­ci­ety.

“It kinda rough, and based on the na­ture of my job, it gives me more work to do,” he said. “If you are the fa­ther and you nah rap with your youth, it a go have a strain on the mother. As a fa­ther and you not tak­ing part in your youth life a cer­tain way, the dis­ci­pline level a go drop big time.”

POS­I­TIVE SUP­PORT IM­POR­TANT

He rec­om­mends in­ter­ac­tion with pos­i­tive peo­ple and sur­round­ing one­self with men­tors to fos­ter even bet­ter fa­ther-child re­la­tions.

“We have a JC (Ja­maica Col­lege) group and we link up on Satur­days, and who have kids, we share the ex­pe­ri­ence and get ad­vice. Some­times, what we do is bring the kids and make them in­ter­act,” he told The Gleaner. “If you have some­one re­spect­ful that can men­tor your child, who you know your child would re­spect, they can be used in that man­ner. It helps some­times ‘cause you alone can’t do it.”

De­spite his best ef­forts, fa­ther­hood for Lafayette is not with­out chal­lenges, es­pe­cially with his line of work.

“My great­est chal­lenge is time. Some­time mi nuh get nuh whole heap of time, but when mi get the time, it’s time well spent. I do ev­ery­thing in that small time. Some­time when I reach home, ev­ery­one gone to bed, and when I wake, it’s time for them to go to school,” he said.

How­ever, a big part of mak­ing up for lost time is telling them he loves them and show­ing them af­fec­tion.

But where did all this love, care, and in­ter­est in fa­ther­hood come from?

“Me and my fa­ther never do dem whole heap of dem fun fun things here, but we good. He did his best, and I am proud of him, and we live good same way,” he told The Gleaner.“When you grow and see other per­sons a en­joy their time with their kids, you say to your­self, ‘That’s how me and mine will grow’, so you don’t want to make the mis­take your par­ents made and don’t have a lot of fun times.”

He added that fa­thers should strive to be pos­i­tive role mod­els for their chil­dren as oth­ers could lead them astray.

The pedi­cure given to his son in the vi­ral video arose out of him buy­ing the foot bath for per­sonal use.

“Be­cause of my ex­pe­ri­ence when I pay to get it done, mi say, ‘I am go­ing to buy one of these for my­self’, and we there now and him (Justin) said, ‘Daddy, I want mine to do, too’, so mi say, ‘All right, let’s go’,” he . “They en­joy them­selves when dem ‘round me, so when mi get the time, mi just mek use of it.”

Lafayette, though a hands-on dad, had high praises for the mothers of his chil­dren.

“When it’s all said and done, they have a good mother back­ground, too. Justin’s mom is there for him 24/7, and Ja­mar and Gabriel, when I am not there, mom is there for them same way,” he said. “I know this is my in­ter­view, but I have to give their mom thumbs up, too, ‘cause dem do whole heap.”

RU­DOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Rafe­lito Lafayette relishes the role he plays in his three chil­dren’s lives.

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