|A father who sacrificed and is a strong figure in his children’s lives|
Guardian Lifestyles Reporter
Published: Jun 21, 2012
Success may often be measured by how much money someone earns or how many houses, cars or luxury vacations they can afford, but for William “Wilmac” McCartney, the recently crowned Father of the Year at Holy Spirit Anglican Church, success is a happy home filled with family and friends enjoying the food he cooks and time spent together.
For as long as he lives, McCartney said the most blessed moments of his life will always be those times when he reaches out to others to share the small things in life with them. The father of four – Branville McCartney, Cyd-Charrisse McCartney-Saunders, Kurt McCartney and Yvette McCartney-Meredith – said that for most of his life he has always focused on doing for others and not bringing too much attention to himself. So to be celebrated at the recent Father’s Day service at his church was a true honor.
“It was a wonderful feeling to be recognized for who I am. I am a shy fellow, so it was nice to know what I do around the church, in my community and of course in my family is appreciated,” he said. “It was not about the attention, but rather being able to encourage others to reach more and aspire as much as I do. To me being awarded is a way to celebrate fatherhood and reflect on what I have done in my life for my immediate family and the community.”
Although being a pillar of comfort and strength in his family and community comes natural to McCartney, he said it was not something that came overnight. He said his ability to be a good father and raise a balanced family stems from his youth.
The 72-year-old said his love for strong community ties, fatherly mannerism, and his generous and happy personality all started in his childhood home, growing up under the strict, but loving hand of his father, Timothy Osbourne McCartney Sr. and the loving kindness, wisdom and generosity of his mother, Cora Culmer-McCartney, with his seven other siblings.
He said had it not been for their unique brand of love and devotion to him and his siblings he does not know if he would be the person he is today.
He also said his wife of 46 years, Marina North-McCartney has made being a good father easy for him as she has been instrumental in keeping the family together and supporting her husband in his endeavors.
The church man
To be a good father, McCartney stressed the importance of being a Christian-minded man. He said going to church is a natural part of being a Christian, but that showing the characteristics required of a true believer is also essential if the younger generation is to truly understand what being a quality person means. For this reason McCartney often took his children to church and prayed with them so they could grow up feeling it was natural to always be in the presence of the Lord.
“I never felt it was enough to just tell my children about going to church or praising God. My wife and I took our kids to church and they experienced it for themselves.”
McCartney recalls that his own father was a devout Christian and pushed the children to go to church five times a day on Sunday. He also made sure they woke up in prayer and it was from this example that the Holy Spirit Anglican Church father of the year continued the tradition to raise his children in church.
He did go through a stage in his life prior to children when he wasn’t interested in attending church, but he said once he got back on track, he took his spirituality to another level. He was one of a group of men that started the Action Men Group which was the forerunner to the Anglican Church Men (ACM) ministry. He even joined the church’s vestry which forced him to be even more deeply invested in the church.
Besides improving his own spiritual walk in Christ, he said it was also important to be active in church so that his children could see that church is more than just attending and being present. And that it’s about being a part of a body of like-minded people and knowing that there is always more one can do to improve.
The family man
While church is an essential part of his life, nothing is more important to McCartney who opened his first pharmacy (Wilmac’s) in 1962 than being there for his family and providing for them in all facets of their lives. He had to be more than just a presence and parent in their lives. He made himself an open book and chaperone for his children’s many activities and social functions. Opening up his home to his children’s friends and neighbors alike was just another part of the day for the pharmacist. Sharing his home and making it comfortable for whomever came to spend time made it easy to teach his children how to be generous and open-minded.
He recalls many an occasion when his daughters, Yvette and Cyd-Charrisse brought home friends from school and had sleepovers. The same went for his sons Branville and Kurt. He never turned away their extra company and was glad to have more people to cook for.
“It was great to have my children’s friends over or people just coming to visit. It was something natural considering my parents always had an open home to family and friends from Eleuthera, where they were from, and always allowed them to live with us until they could get on their feet. Family comes in all forms and being raised to be generous and loving to whomever I meet is not something one can just shake off,” he said.
Despite being a gentle soul, McCartney said a father must have a firm hand and do what needs to be done to ensure their children toe the line. While he said he had few problems from his daughters, he says he had his hands full with his sons whom he called hellraisers in their youth. He recalls having to discipline his children and find ways around their creativity to avoid justice.
“My boys were a lot more troublesome than the girls. They would fight and when I heard about it, would tell them to separate themselves and go in different rooms. When I got home they would be padded up with clothes but I never beat them right away. Only later when they thought they were scott-free would I finally let them have it and explain why they were being disciplined.”
Growing up with dad
Yvette McCartney-Meredith, McCartney’s eldest child says growing up with her father was a pleasure. She says he was always there for her. While many of her friends went to their mothers for advice on feminine things she says she always gravitated to her father for information and that often times it was embarrassing for both of them, but it was something she felt she could only talk about with him.
“My father was a lasting and strong figure in my life. He has always been there for my siblings and I. He provided for us. Sacrificed so we could go to school and have what we needed. I don’t know how he did it since we all went to law or medical school. But even so, it was never a problem. He always made us feel safe and our friends welcomed. Coming home was always a great thing when we were in college. I remember once bringing home five friends and he willingly took them in. He never complained. It was just great.”
Meredith remembers her father being there for her in her most painful of moments particularly in her youth when she experience dysmenorrhea (a gynecological medical condition of pain during menstruation) and was generally sick often. No matter what time of the night, she says he would get up to take care of her without a word or grumble.
She says her father was even instrumental in getting her to realize her true career path. She remembers wanting to be a social worker upon graduating high school and her dad being supportive of her choice. He invited people in the field in to meet her and give her advice on the field and show her the nature of it. Meredith felt enlightened and took her A-levels in sociology, law and government and politics and did well in them, but still undecided, her father suggested that she do law with a focus on social issues. That was good advice, she felt, because today she is doing what she loves.
No matter what — be present
McCartney says his proudest moments were being able to help all of his children to reach their potential. He says it meant more to him to be there and see them grow up than any amount of riches. He advises all fathers no matter their station in life or income capability to be there for their children.
“At the end of the day I know I was not perfect as a father, husband or man but I can say that I did my best,” he said. “I would advise other young fathers to step up to the plate and be there for their children. It may not be easy or convenient, but being there to share the small memories with them will make all the difference in the world.”
McCartney says children need to see their fathers — no matter if they can provide for them or not. He says they need to feel loved and know that they can count on them. And to not ever let them feel that they have to go elsewhere to be loved, appreciated or accepted. He encourages fathers to start the development of their children into good men and women at home. And he says being a father is a serious thing and that no matter what happens, to not take it lightly.