Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 26th 2014 Contents B5
Thursday, June 26, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Monica Starke describes herself as a
"lifestyle coach." Coming soon in a weekly
column called The Starke Reality in the T&T
Guardian, she will be imparting the benefit
of her wisdom, acquired over many years as
a family and children s counsellor, an organ-
isational development consultant, running
a kids day care centre and as the mother of
"I m focused on helping individuals, their
families, and organisations to function at their
optimum," says Starke in an interview in an
air-conditioned cafe in Woodbrook.
"I ve reached the stage where I want to do
what I enjoy most and what I enjoy most, and
what I m good at, is helping peo-
ple become their best selves."
In the midst of another year
of ceaseless violence in cer-
tain sections of T&T society,
Starke maintains the opin-
ion that improving family
life and functionality is a
block to combatting
building blocks of sta-
ble, ambitious and suc-
cessful lives as opposed
to raising young people in an environment of
chaos, fear and aggression.
"Look at what s happening in the world,"
she says, "I m urging families to provide a
sanctuary, because if our children can t come
home to a sanctuary they will find it else-
She s at a point in her life, she says, where
she could take it easy after years of hard work,
but she doesn t want to rest. She feels it is
a privilege to have acquired the knowledge
and skills she has.
"What am I going to do with it?" she asks.
"I don t want to die with this knowledge, I
want to share it. And this is why I m going
back into the media, because I think the media
is a powerful teacher."
She used to write for newspapers and pre-
sented shows on Radio Trinidad.
Does she think we re at a point in
time where it s harder than in the past
for people to function properly?
"I think every era has had their
challenges but I think our chal-
lenges today are of course very
different. Technology has
changed the world," says Starke.
But are people struggling more
"I feel that within the last ten
or 20 years it is more challenging
for young people, because
they ve had to adapt and
adjust to so many
happen so fast.
Technology is good
in some respects---
how can we live
phones and our
it s hard to
know what to
kind of family issues does she deal with?
"Families in crisis. Because families are so
busy trying to earn a living, it s hard.
"I m seeing challenges between couples,
affected by the economy, holding on to two
jobs. And what happens when couples dis-
agree? Family life suffers. Family members go
into their own rooms to eat.
"Families need to start having meals togeth-
er! Play board games together, have conver-
sations, go on picnics...We need to get back
to these things."
If we don t go back to these core behaviours,
Starke says, we will end up with children using
technology (smartphones, laptops, video games
consoles and iPads) as "substitute babysitters."
Children will become addicted to technology.
But what about the recent debate about
another traditional form of Caribbean par-
enting? "Licks" was in the news recently:
where does Starke sit on the issue?
"I m not going to tell parents how to raise
their children," she says.
Then, after a pause, "A little beating every
now and again, I think it s ok. But we have
to stay away from the extremes."
I point out that it s illegal in the US, UK
and other countries for parents to physically
beat their children.
"I m not sure that s the right thing, because
it takes away all the power from the parent,"
says Starke. "Children are now beating and
attacking their parents and they know their
rights from a very young age."
In the late 1970s Starke was a flight atten-
dant with BWIA. A job which meant she "was-
n t there" for her eldest child. She acknowl-
edges that all parents make mistakes and she
is no different.
"But we must learn from our mistakes. We
all think we are terrible parents until we talk
to other parents and realise we all struggle at
In 1980, she opened Juniorcare, a daycare
centre for children aged three months to five-
years-old. Following that, and a divorce, she
spent ten years studying in Florida, eventually
ending up with qualifications in psychology,
a masters in counselling in education and a
doctorate in adult education organisational
Arriving back in Trinidad just three months
ago she is reconnecting with former clients,
looking into setting up workshops with
employees and supervisors of organisations
that are experiencing problems. And, generally,
she is loving being back in the country she
"I am a Trinidadian," she says. "I owe who
I am to my experience growing up in Trinidad.
It s only spiritually fitting that I give back to
• Monica Starke's column, The Starke Reality
begins on July 2 and will continue every
Facing the stark reality
People shower after swimming at the beach of the Mediterranean sea, in Jaffa, a mixed
Jewish and Arab part of Tel Aviv, Israel on Monday. AP PHOTO
to get back
you can be
Links Archive June 25th 2014 June 27th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page