Being kicked out of school, sitting at home with nothing to do, showed me the importance of education. I was going through a rough patch. I had issues at home, self-esteem issues, and having no one to talk to about my stress made it worse.
After I was expelled I spoke with the guidance counsellor and was hopeful about showing that I could redeem myself. Arranging a meeting was also a chance to explain to my father how I felt about our relationship. But he never showed up.
My father doesn’t choose the best of words to say and he can be abusive physically – he says it’s for the good. Growing up he blamed me for a lot of things. I think when parents have stress they will often take it out on their children. I’m not saying all parents but that’s been my experience.
Adverse family life taught me to take self-responsibility
I’m not going to blame it entirely on my father, because many of the bad decisions I have made – they were mine. But the nature of our relationship has had an impact on me. Yet, I can see that blaming him would be me not taking responsibility for my own actions.
Now, at seventeen, my life has become about taking responsibility. In my community people looked down at me because they said I wasted the opportunity at Calabar. Now I am determined to make people proud.
Going to Chile with UNICEF after being recommended by the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) has given me this extra boost. Seeing the struggles of other teenagers out there, like a young lady from Honduras who I spoke with, taught me that my story is nothing compared to some others.
Back in school and studying hard to build a career
I’m back in education at HEART College of Construction Services in Portmore and I’m doing well in exams – even getting as high as 91 per cent for Demolition. One day I want to be involved in big construction projects to help develop Jamaica and make my country beautiful. Right now I’m learning the basics but I plan to study for a good amount of time so I can build my skills.
Everything that has taken place in my life I have learned from it. I don’t see them as mistakes, but as lessons. It’s never how you start the race, it’s how you finish. Not learning from the bad decisions you make – that’s the problem!
Cameron from Twickenham Park, St. Catherine represented the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) at the First Regional Dialogue of Latin America and the Caribbean ‘On the Road to Equality’: 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, held in Santiago Chile, November 27-29, 2018.