‘It indeed takes a village’ – Parents of high-achieving twins say ‘we could not have done it alone’

As a medical doctor, Roselyn Brown Fuller tries to meet the needs of her demanding profession while raising twin sons, who both recently copped scholarships to attend the top secondary school in Jamaica.

“I am not only a doctor; I am a mother, I am the cook, I am the housekeeper, but I balance it well. I am a country girl,” said Brown Fuller, a consultant anaesthetist who has worked in the public health sector for almost 30 years.

Her sons, Nathan and Jonathan Fuller, have been balancing their academic and social life well, too. Jonathan is a Government Scholarship recipient, while his brother Nathan was among three students who were given full scholarships by Victoria Mutual Foundation on Saturday. He was ranked as the top student in Surrey. Both boys attend Campion College.

While attending Mona Preparatory, the boys were involved in chess, robotics, karate, football, and were on the swim and Mathematics Olympiad team. They are also artists who represented their school during the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission competitions. Jonathan’s art piece is currently on display at the Sangster International Airport, much to the delight of his parents. The boys are also very involved at the Bethel Baptist Church, where Jonathan is a young preacher.

Supervising Online Classes

Brown Fuller and her husband, Leighton, subscribe to the concept of the village raising the child. This is a concept they believe people will have to adopt even more in the months ahead, as parents struggle to supervise their children’s online classes while eking out a living and dealing with the challenges presented by COVID-19.

“It takes a village. You can’t do it alone, it is very difficult, especially in this time here. You have to have backup, so you [have] to recruit all members of the family to see what they can do,” she advised.

Leighton, an engineer, describes himself as the chief of the village. He and his wife are supported by their relatives, staff at the Mona Preparatory School and their church family.

“The burden is not as heavy when you have the village carrying the load,” he said.

While his wife was at work on Monday, Leighton was at home supervising the children as they did online classes. Brown Fuller believes it is important for an adult to supervise online classes, to prevent a child from being an absentee student.

“If I am working, then daddy is at home to do the supervision. If he is working, then I am at home to do the supervision,” said the mother, who often takes days off from work to spend time with her boys.

Quality Time

“Sometimes she has to take the day off from work to even come read with us, because she wants to spend time with us. When we grow up, she says that we won’t spend enough time with her as when we were younger, so she is trying to get the most of it,” said Nathan of his mother.

The pre-teen had started online classes from last March after the Government shuttered schools due to COVID-19, but the experience has not been as positive as he would like.

“The students in my class, they don’t really have the Internet or the Wi-Fi to stay in the meetings, so, constantly, people are getting knocked out of the meetings and joining back, and they are missing out on class because of that,” he said during a short break from class on Tuesday.

Jonathan’s main issue with online classes is the fact that he has been deprived from meeting new people in person.

“I really want to try and make new friends, so that is going to be a challenge,” said the young scholar, who wants to be an artist, while pursuing a “main” job later in life.

Having a mother who is a doctor has made him very much aware of the need to social distance himself from others.

“When I go on the road, I have to spray up so many times, because my mother is so used to doing so. She sprays up her body all the time, wears multiple masks, and she just social distances from everybody,” Jonathan said.

Brown Fuller is not taking any chances; she walks with spray bottles filled with alcohol and hand sanitisers, and makes sure to shower in a downstairs bathroom to minimise the risks to her family.

“People in our community will tell you, we always wear our masks; even if we are going to put our garbage outside, we have our masks on,” she said.

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