Dad on the front line of COVID fight could do with 36 hours in the day

Jamaica Defence Force Staff Sergeant Jason Lampart (centre) is all smiles with his children Jadon (left) and Jioni (right). (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Staff Sergeant Jason Lampart has nine years of fatherhood under his belt, but though he enjoys every minute of it, the demands of his job can make the task hard.

“I became a father at age 24. I was pretty young by some standards but it was a great feeling for me. I came out of a family where I had no father. I didn’t grow with my dad so I wanted to be that difference, to break that cycle. The foremost thing in my mind was to be committed and dedicated to the task. The experience has been challenging and rewarding,” he said.

Lampart, who has two children – nine-year-old daughter Jioni and four-year-old son Jadon – is the Staff Sergeant in charge of the Civil Military Cooperation and Media Affairs department on the staff level, and works under the supervision of JDF Civil Military Cooperation and Media Affairs Officer, Major Basil Jarrett.

His line of duty, he says, makes him wish he had 36 hours each day.

“As it relates to the work schedule, because of my job as a military person and how demanding that can be, it will take away time. But that is a sacrifice that many persons who serve have to make.

“You have to come to an understanding that that is what you do, that you are called to serve, and now that forces you to basically make more of the time you get with your family. Sometimes you wish the day had in 36 hours and not 24. You have to take the day and slice it up as best as you can. At the end of the day, everybody should get a slice,” he said.

Daughter Jioni doesn’t hesitate to express her disappointment that dad’s time is so limited, however, she enjoys the moments they share together.

“I like when he comes home and plays with us. When we are hungry and stuff he feeds us and always looks after us. I don’t like when he comes home late and when he doesn’t play with us,” she said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

Fathering is a passion for Lampart and it shows.

“I love my kids equally. For Jioni, my fondest memory is bathing her as a child. At the time we were living in May Pen, Clarendon, and we use to bathe her in a big blue bath on the back step. She loved staying in the water for very long periods. Jadon is a completely different beast. [They are as different as] night and day. Jioni is more calm and thoughtful, while Jadon is more rumbustious as a boy child. My fondest memories of him is playing very rough with him from a very young age.

“I am looking forward to their success in life and for them to have a good future – that is my number one priority. Unlike in my case where I didn’t have a father to assist with planning my future, what I have started to do is plan their future by making investments for them in the future for their education, their health and their security. I want them to have that base upon which they can be successful.”

As a dad on the front line in the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19, he believes his role in the civil military cooperation office was pivotal.

“The role of being in the media office was of primary importance in COVID-19. The JDF was very integral in the entire country’s response, so communicating to persons, communicating to our internal public, telling soldiers to sanitise, get your temperatures checked – that was very important. It was also very important to communicate to the external public what the JDF was doing in order to support the Government and to support the national effort in the fight against COVID-19.”

Staff Sergeant Lampart has some serious advice for absentee fathers.

“To men who are absent – you are doing your children, and by extension the country a great disservice. We have to recognise that children need that male figure to look up to. What your daughter sees in you is what she models her future spouse to be. You have to take responsibility to be that person and communicate to her that, ‘This is what you should expect’, and you instil moral values in her.

“As it relates to your son, your son really models what you are. He will perceive the world through your eyes, somewhat. You are the first point of contact as a male individual. That role is critical. For those not on board, it doesn’t matter the family situation. It shouldn’t be reduced to a transactional-type relationship. If you’re not getting anything from the mother – and anything could be defined any way – you don’t have the right to be absent. It is a great responsibility, face it head-on.”

Article: Published in the Jamaica Observer on Monday, June 22, 2020

Writer: Kimberley Hibbert