I met up with a couple of younger relatives who I haven’t seen for sometime. One of them is still in turmoil with issues from their childhood. So being a person that I am, who doesn’t walk the other way when someone is crying out, we decided to stop, have tea, and a chat. They both have successful marriages, children, and live in one of the finest suburbs, and are blessed to be stay-at-home mothers. Ironically, providence moved our conversation towards the generations before us, and how our relatives, especially the one parent in our families who carried all the weight around the house. Which included housework, preparing meals, and raising children. I added that I thought it was their profound reverence to these things that kept my daunting spirit alive for all these years.
They both disagreed with this news as being good. And made note to me that it was not always right to give credit to the moms or the dads before us, since some of it was wrong, and replied: "In their circle of marriages today, most men and women equally share these things, regardless of their partner not working outside the house. Besides, the past generations of those families who have endured the tremendous strain, just to hold the family together, probably should have separated, as, some of it was absurd. Because, it is more common for families to have a mate who is the bread-winner that also shares the raising of the children, housework, meal preparations, etc., as being the only thing that is right and works today."
In some ways, I can truly understand where they’re coming from. As, most of their relationships are with couples married to a successful or flexible partner, who feel rather sustained just the way things are. Furthermore, observing those relationships, there’s been a new-role-change of either parent where it’s necessary to divide the task of nurturing the children and housework, since both works outside the house. And I was sorry to inform them of my life acquaintances of men and women who didn’t have any help or privileges like today. This is the reason that I am indebted to my parents back stories and the generations before me, since they gave me continuity. Then I added some true experiences that I often heard from loyal men and women who actually felt extolled within for their roles through Divine compensation. And I shared conflicting times of so-called healthy sacrifices with them, hoping to shed some light.
Their response was that they simply wouldn’t have it any other way, or else they'd seriously consider a divorce.
They were oblivious to any kind of good coming from surrendering, and made another note that they thought it was rare that any family has to struggle with the consequence of carrying more weight than the other. As all their relationships are pretty much of the same, and the tasks are divided equally.
I suddenly realized that our conversation here was far from equal and best to bring it to a close. In this area, I am helpless. For this thought, I was grateful to give it up to God.
On another topic that holds some thoughts I ponder on: I wonder which of these dreams will bring the change to keep our generation moving in the right direction. Here are some of the things that whisper to me:
Today’s generation is more advanced when it comes to freedom and women's rights. They are free in a way that they believe gives them more power - i.e. they are supported to go back to school or to work shortly after having a child. And are supported to have other people raise their children, rather than play out the old-fashioned role as motherhood for those important first-years. And in some way, women have advanced and educated themselves to be talented in every profession their heart desires. America is the land of opportunity for the women of today. I just wonder if America is the land of opportunity for children anymore. I wonder if a child could vote, if they'd vote for freedom from their mother’s responsibility of having to go outside to work, or having to leave them to educate themselves. I wonder if a child would prefer their grandparent’s generation before ours; those who gave up their dreams to pave their children’s path, first. Those mothers and fathers who were there for us until we were ready-age for school, and were there for us after school with milk and cookies? Who drove us to our activities or dental appointments, and read or sang us asleep, sometimes without a considerate partner, or now and again with an absent one?
The times today are no different than the years before us. We all tightly grasped our parent's hand when anything tried to separate them from us. It makes no difference if we were one, two, three, or forty-years-old. And I honestly don’t think that one-hundred-years ago in my parent's generation of 1917, or mine in 1948, or today in 2012 makes a difference with our soul.
I’m grateful that my young relatives have enough necessities that can keep them home raising their children, as our grandparent's resilience obviously found their way. This must have been God’s intelligence, since it still brought harmony to the family, as, all things worked together for the common good back in those days, too. And I hope and pray that today’s generation bears demonstrations that are tried-and-true for others to follow.
Meanwhile, if we have it all in front of us and are still feeling the disharmony from the past; wouldn’t it only be intelligent to open our hearts with love and compassion and give gratitude to those who brought us to this time and place? So we can send the next generation on a path of good-will and blessings, as they did for us. Rather than hold on to and repeat a so-called error we believed, continue to exist.
Causes Catherine Nagle Supports
Westwind Foster Family Agency, Christian Children's Fund, Compassion International, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Invisible Children, Save the Children