Minister: Tell your father, sons you love them

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

CRIME could be cured if more fathers told their sons they loved them and if the sons followed suit.

This is the belief of the Rev Brian Skinner, who pleaded with men to follow the advice during the funeral of masman and well-known cyclist Leroy Prieto on June 7 at Belgroves Crematorium, San Fernando.

Skinner’s plea came after witnessing Prieto hold one of his sons and telling him that he loved him.

“Most men go to the graveyard and never heard the voice of their fathers say, ‘You are my son and I love you,’ and even greater, ‘You are a man now,'” he said.

“I am encouraging men, for brother Prieto…call your dad and say, ‘Daddy, do you love me?'”

For those whose fathers may be dead, he suggested getting a friend to play the role. “Say to him, ‘Daddy, do you love me?’ And get him back to say, ‘Yes, I love you.'”

Citing Matthew 3:17, when the heavens opened after Jesus was baptised and God said he loved Jesus and was pleased with him, Skinner said men want to be loved. “What has he (Jesus) done for his father to say that? He had not turned water to wine, he had not cleansed the leper, he had not fed 4,000 yet. Guess what? He had not even raised the dead yet. But yet still here is his daddy saying, ‘That’s my boy and I love him.’

“That’s what a man wants to hear from his father. He wants to know, ‘Do you love me or do I have to perform to get your love?'”

He said voicing his love was the biggest struggle he had with his father.

Skinner said he followed his own advice when he was in his 60s, after he realised he was giving it to almost 3,000 men during a special programme but had never done it himself. He admitted it was a daunting task, but said he was grateful he had done it.”I hugged him and I said, ‘I love you.’ and I got a release in me.”

He believes if all men did this, it would eliminate one of the root causes of crime in the country. “The more of you men go out and do that, you will see the crime dropping. The reason why you have so many angry young men out there is because of the anger of too much masculinity that started at home.” Delivering Prieto’s eulogy, his daughter-in-law Sherry Ann assured his three sons that he loved them and was very proud of them. “He saw each of you, your individual uniqueness, your talents, your weaknesses.

“He loved these three boys so much.

“He was so proud of each of you that it left him speechless in being able to express to you just how much he loved each of you. Your existence overwhelmed him. Your successes, in his eyes, were beyond his reach and he knew that each of you reflected back to him his own self and the magnitude of that self was overwhelming. Your father loved you,” she said.Prieto, who died on May 29, held the record for the South King of Carnival titles, with seven wins.

Prieto also represented Trinidad and Tobago’s mas at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Outside the Belgroves Crematorium in San Fernando, Kaisokah School of Arts moko jumbies were on display, waving national flags.

One of them wore the black, red and yellow of the German national flag. The school’s head, Junior Bisnath, told Newsday this was to pay homage to Prieto’s work for the World Cup.

His family would later join the school with Prieto’s awards to celebrate his life, posing for photos and videos with his trophies.

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