Talk presented during the May devotion 2018 By Apollonia A. Nwosu

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Published: May 30, 2018 at 10:16 AM Admin

ROLE OF MOTHER AND FATHER Introduction The family, made up of the father, mother and children is the domestic church foundational cell, as well as the basic unit, nucleus or bedrock of the wider world/society. Whatever happens to it happens to the Church and the society. It is against these backgrounds that I examined the role of mother and father in the family in a dynamic world. The role of mother and father offers us the opportunity to reflect on: Beautiful gift and vocation of marriage and family life. The call of every Christian family to be missionary, making the gospel values shine forth and become a leaven of the society The Role of the Mother The feminine and biological structures and functions of a woman have endowed them with the responsibilities of child bearing and care. These biological aspects of women also endowed them with the feminine qualities of unconditional love for the child, tenderness, moral strength, etc. The woman is a mother who conceives and brings forth the baby that has developed in her into the world. Her nature endows her with feminine qualities and abilities that include love, tenderness, dedication, moral strength and profound warmth, compassion, thoughtfulness. A mother is the evidence of nurturing care and consideration. Mother helps the child to grow in confidence, self esteem and to experience that the world is a good, peaceful and welcoming place. Develops the capacity for intimacy and empathy. As part of the domestic church, a mother is the first priest and teacher of the child; communicates the deepest meaning of religious practices in the first prayers and acts of devotion that the child learns Pope Francis describing the “irreplaceable nature of motherhood” sees mothers as “the strongest antidote to the spread of self centered individualism. Mothers should be the cradles of sincere love for both nuclear and extended families to know that they are loved and valued; Be less materialistic so that family and others can be well taken care. A society without mothers would be dehumanized, for mothers are always witnesses to tenderness, dedication and moral strength even in the worst of times. In today’s world, it is legitimate and indeed desirable that the woman is educated, should work and develop her skills and have personal goals (educate a woman and you educate a nation) The need for a mother’s presence in the first months of the child’s life MUST NOT BE ignored or jeopardized. Thus weakening of maternal presence with its feminine qualities poses a great risk to our world. Feminism (Advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of sexes/woman’s liberation) although valued should not demand uniformity or regale motherhood. Grandeur of women includes all their rights derived from their inalienable human dignity but also from their feminine genius which is essential to the society. Motherhood also entails duties and specific mission in this world- “a mission that society needs to protect and preserve for good of all” (Pope Francis-Amoris Laetitia n. 173). The Role of the Father Fathers/men because of their biological masculine nature are seen as being physically strong. He is an authority figure. Fathers are expected to be hardworking, industrious, rational, assertive and independent. The father is the head of the family just as Jesus is the head of the Church and treats her with love. “A man who loves his wife, loves himself (Ephesians 4:28). A father possessed a clear and serene masculine identity who demonstrates affection and concern for his wife is just as necessary as a caring mother (p. 17 of Manual). Masculine Qualities required of a father for healthy family: He is the head/leader of the family He should provide for the family materially, etc He should demonstrate affection for family They should not become selfish, petty, arrogant, insecure and oppressive and authoritarian; addicts to drug, wine, women and money. The father helps the child to perceive the limits of life, and to be open to the challenges of the wider world and to see the need for hard work and strenuous effort. The presence of the father and hence his authority is also impacted by the amount of time given over to communication and entertainment media. A father should be authoritative (reliable, showing authority, and showing deep and varied knowledge) Reversal of gender roles in the families does not make a father less masculine or imply irresponsibility or failure or cause shame; should be healthy and normal in our changing and demanding world. There is need for a father figure and father’s presence in the home. A father should not be so much caught up in himself or in search of self fulfillment, abandon/neglect his family. Questioning the manhood or lack of father figure in a family brings confusion into the family and world. Responsible Parenting Roles of both in Today’s World They teach more with actions (and examples) and less with words. They encourage more and criticize less. They spend quality time with their children (prayers, meals, stories, etc) Act as responsible individual themselves They encourage dialogues with the kids Stay connected as a couple They understand their kids’ love language They let their children take their own decisions They emphasize more on moral values (cultural values/ethics) and less on materialistic things Create good memories for children that often last a life-time through creating a happy and conducive home In today’s world, pervasive with ICT and its sometimes damaging ripple effect on the society, fathers and mothers should be more firm and responsible. Watching television always/excessively or use of phone excessively are not good examples for children to emulate. Children now abuse social media. Responsible parents should try to know what they do, what they read, watch on TV and internet and who their friends are and where their children are. These duties need the unity and unflinching support of parents to each other. Parents Should Not: fake their attention to kids compare their kids with others stop their kids from voicing out their opinions thrust their decisions upon the kids They don’t act as great parents before people in pretence They should not lie to them or display evil actions before them Conclusion Parents should ensure that their families become truly domestic churches where every member undertakes responsibility of catering for their good, of the others thereby bringing into being the flavor of love, affection and taste of reconciliation and peace and truly a sanctuary where members can encounter Christ in spirit and truth.

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