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Saturday, June 15, 2013


no pictures this time, just observations

First, Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Thanks for all you do, raising me up, teaching me responsibility, blah blah blah              (Don’t worry folks, we’re facetiming later this weekend :))

Second, some observations on Fathers:

I’ve heard many a statistic suggest a fatherless home leads to a fatherless home in the next generation. If dad wasn’t present, then the son doesn’t know what a good father looks like; thus, if the son ever becomes a father himself, he is more likely to exit the picture.

This phenomenon rings true for the families surrounding the monastery. Most fathers are absent (some making the occasional appearance when/if it would somehow personally benefit him), and few of the remaining males have cared about being good role models. In my limited knowledge base (once again, just firsthand experience and stories gleaned while in Africa), I’ve noticed the following:

-The male children are typically the ones you have to look out for. Stories of skipping school, not showing up when promised, underage drinking, and displaying an overall lack of responsibility are far more frequent among the sons than the daughters.

-Over the years, the males of each generation tend to repeat this pattern of neglect. It doesn’t surprise me that the males who have gone of the wagon (so the speak) have fathers who went off the wagon long ago.

This brings me to school on Friday:

Students spent the morning making father’s day cards. The teachers explained you can give it to any father figure in your life.

I’m pretty sure only 3 students live with their biological father, and I didn’t really know what to expect when we started making cards. For the most part, it was like any other craft project, although a few unique moments stand out:
-Several children approached me after writing “Happy Father’s Day!!!”, seemingly unsure what to do next. I suggested they draw their fathers, and they eventually drew various other relatives.
-When I asked a child what her father’s name was (I initially debated asking this question to anyone), she replied with “S____”, which is her last name. I asked about his first name, to which she sheepishly smiled and covered her face.
-As they finished, some children handed in the cards like they would an assignment. When I said they can give it to their fathers, one child asked “…why?”

Our head teacher thinks our children have a right to know their fathers, that it is important to their self-identity. I would elaborate by saying the children have a right to positive role models in their lives -female and male. To use a simplified expression, sometimes we don’t realize our potential until we see what others accomplished before us. These role models can significantly impact our life -for better or for worse.

At present, these families have a stellar legacy among the women of keeping the family together and raising them no matter the odds. The males leave a lot to be desired. 

edit: The following quote nicely synthesizes my thoughts on this: “Experts say that even when a child has all the basics such as food, shelter, and education, a positive male role model is still essential for creating a well-rounded human being” -from Father's Day for some, should be for many. by ENCA

1 comment:

  1. another good post. You're getting into some good stuff here at the end of your year.