By Juliana Valdez
So, ‘Carl Winslow’, actor Reginald Vel Johnson on the sitcom, Family Matters cannot celebrate with his wife ‘Hariette’, actress Jo Marie Payton, who landed a job which would see her bringing home more money than he.
“The head of the household”; “the man of the house”; “the captain of the ship” were some of the terms Carl used to describe himself. This caused Harriette to ask if she was supposed to be the “squab” on the ship!
This made me think of roles within the family structure. Traditionally, we were familiar with the father being the ‘breadwinner’ and the mother, the good ‘little woman,’ staying at home, keeping the house in order through her chores of cleaning, cooking, washing, disciplining the offspring, tending the animals, etc.
But then the dynamics changed!
The woman’s role changed to include careers. The result? Men were now required to assist more around the house—shared responsibility. While it was no big thing for some men, for others however, the transition was not readily accepted because there was still the sentiment being expressed about what was ‘men’s work’ and what was ‘women’s work’.
Enter Carl Winslow. The sentiments he expressed to Harriette outlined his discomfort with the situation, amounting to the fact that he felt emasculated since he saw his role as being the one to ‘bring home the bacon’.
Family life today, is affected by sentiments such as these. As Harriette pointed out to Carl, the roles of husband and wife were not competitive. Instead, it was about putting their heads together, pooling resources and thus ensuring that their family was well provided for.
Accepting responsibilities is the beginning. There is the annual complaint that while mothers are celebrated annually on their special day, less fuss is made when Father’s Day rolls around.
I know that this is a generalisation and not entirely true for all fathers since I can attest to many families who make just as much fuss affirming the fathers for Father’s Day as they do for the moms on their day.
It reminds me of the saying, “You can only get out of something what you put into it!”
Are fathers putting their all spiritually, physically and emotionally into their role to ensure the good and welfare, and most importantly, a sound, meaningful relationship with their offspring?
Ephesians 6:4 and Matthew 7:9–11 give us the guidelines God wants fathers to be aware off so that they will be fulfilling their role in the best possible way.
While life and situations which arise can change in the twinkling of an eye, (COVID-19 and its effects is a case in point), the awareness of what is expected of those blessed with the gift of fatherhood….it is indeed a gift…..must be considered.
In adhering to the guidelines given by Almighty God, fathers can then take comfort in the knowledge that they have done what is required of them to the best of their ability.
Yes, the road would not always be smooth, but with faith in the power of God when we seek to do what is right, the grace to remain steadfast in the desire to do so will be obtained.
I pray that fathers who are already doing their best will persevere, and those who are not there yet will strive to acknowledge and accept their responsibility. Fatherhood is a gift from God. Cherish and nurture your children. They too are gifts from God! Be the examples they should follow!