The Family Series II

Family Pix

A man was struggling to provide for his family but his effort was not yielding the desired result. The wife who had since learnt to be independent was actually taking care of the finances. According to the woman, all through the period the man had financial difficulty, she tried not to say or do anything that would hurt the ego of the husband who was experiencing challenges. She was able to keep outsiders from knowing what was really happening in the family. The husband had her PIN and could do online transfer. In essence the woman was just trying to be as supportive as she could. One day the man decided to leave. He left the woman with their child. A father walked away from his family.

Another man who courted his wife for five years before marrying her was constantly getting into financial mess. He would secure loan which he claimed was for business. At the end, both the loan and the business would not be found. This went on repeatedly. And when he would not be able to pay, the creditors would remember his wife. She would end up paying the debt. This went on for years and the man did not change. A separation ensued between the man and the woman. Such men are still found today. They do not appreciate the responsibility they owe their family. That woman is a human being. Inasmuch as she knows that marriage is not a bed of roses, she did not get into it with the intention of enduring marriage for the rest of her married life.

In our society, from the time a girl begins to approach womanhood, she is told or taught how to be submissive, be a good wife, take care of the home, and so on. But hardly does anyone talk to the boys as they approach manhood concerning how they can be good husbands and fathers.

As has been mentioned, the first teachers of the children are the parents. The teaching should include matters of faith. The family is a domestic Church where children first learn about God and try to develop a relationship with him. A community of love is developed, a school of human virtues and Christian charity is formed. Whether the home is a cave or a mansion, it is where parents teach children the primary purpose of life which is to know, love, and serve God. They also teach the children to co-operate with God for their salvation. When parents fail in their role as teachers, there is hardly anything that can compensate for the failure especially in the life of the children.

Inasmuch as the family is a domestic church, the home ought to have a little of what is found in the church where there the community assemble. Sacred images, sacramental, saints’ pictures and the likes are things that ought to have a place in the home. These stimulate one’s thoughts heavenwards.

The importance of prayer in the family cannot be overemphasized. It has been said that a family that prays together stays together. Let the children understand that the faith expressed in prayer is not only for asking God for their wants. We exist to serve God not the other way round. If God were not to grant any of our requests, we would still need faith for faith is a bond with God. From their early years let the children begin to understand faith. In my environment, I see parents not properly bringing up their children – no prayers, no teaching of values, the use of vulgar words in the presence of children, and so on. The children end up without faith and character. Parents should understand that they would be held accountable for their failure as regards the upbringing of their children. The children were entrusted to them by God.

Children need leadership and they find it in their parents. They also need a friend that they can talk to when they want to. That a child for instance is being sexually assaulted and is unable to tell her parents or guardians says something about the relationship between the parents or guardians and the child. A woman was molested at age 11 by her sister’s husband. One day the man walked into her room in the night, got himself naked and as he was about to penetrate the girl, the wife came into the room. What the wife did was to slap the girl without saying a word to the man. The girl probably would have been motionless when the man wanted to carry out the act. But her motionlessness can be understood since she was only a child. She must have been shocked by the level of immorality of this man whom the society holds in high esteem. She felt that she was being maltreated by her sister (her sister had gotten her naked a number of times in front of the maids for some minor offences) and as a result she could not report the sexual molestation to her sister when it started. Her sister was simply not someone she could talk to. After that particular night on which she was slapped by her sister for the husband’s immorality, the man continued the sexual molestation. As a grown up woman, she shared her experience in a particular church. In the night, one of the girls who listened to her called and was crying over the phone while narrating how her brother rapes her and the inaction of her father even though he was aware. We hear stories of fathers who rape their daughters. When people who are aware of this take no action, they leave the man to continue his barbaric act. It is sickening that the perpetrators of sexual assault are not stopped by the very people who ought to stop them. The act of the perpetrator can escalate if nothing is done to stop him. A child should be protected and by all means protected from sexual assault.

Values have to be transmitted to the children in the family. Values are important and lasting beliefs shared by members (of a family in this case) about what is desirable or undesirable, good, or bad. Values influence a person’s attitude and behaviour and in many situations guide the person. Some values are balance, benevolence, commitment, contentment, control, discipline, frankness.

This write-up continues in the next post.

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