It is not only the mother’s responsibility to look after the children

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Joycemarielila Toafa

Laughter fills the air; love strengthens relationships while hugs and kisses display commitments.

A child laughing and fidgeting around his father’s hands that’s tickling him while his mother smiles at the scene in front of her eyes.

Oh! What a sight! Turning around, another family comes into view.

A mother is tucking in her daughter and with a kiss on the infant’s forehead she turns around and sighs on her way out.

Dropping on the couch, a frown clouds her face while a tear that betrayed her confident aura; questions crowds in my mind.

I studied this family’s portrait and a weird feeling took over me, it felt like tasting soup with a missing unknown ingredient.

Hours passed by and a faint plea for her father comes from the daughter’s room. Uncertainty lies in the mother’s eyes while feelings of being incomplete drown the child’s mind.

A thought of being unloved mocks the daughter and when she finally had enough of her poisonous thoughts; she falls back to bed with tears as evidence of insecurity. 

Initially, every child needs his/her father for various reasons. A father figure is very important in every family because it’s where discipline, control and good decision making comes from. In some cases a child that grows up with rarely any time spent with a father figure, they are said to be troublemakers or rascals with no control.

This statement is not said to disregard a mother’s ability to raise her children but it is stated to differentiate a mother’s discipline and that of a father. When the mother raises a child by herself, she is magnetized with the motherly mindset of providing everything for her child.

She tends to be very soft because she doesn’t like her babies crying and this will somehow give the child an opportunity to overpower her (the mother) emotions and decisions.

Meanwhile if the mother and father raise their child together, the father can be the stick that keeps the child on his/her feet while the mother can be the pillow that he/she cries on.

Stating this contradicts the picture drawn of a loving father but somewhere in Samoan culture states “O le matua alofa e nana lona alofa” (A loving parent hides his/her love). Researchers found that overall; the love of both parents affects kid’s behaviour, self-esteem, emotional stability and mental health.

Withdrawal of a father’s love seems to play a bigger role in kid’s problem with personality and psychological adjustment, delinquency and substance abuse. For others, the presence of a father’s love may do more to boost children’s sense of well-being and improve their emotional and physical health.

Moreover, at weddings; vows are stated that both the bride and groom will work together in any and every circumstances.  Stating this in front of many witnesses, it also includes the fair responsibility between them in raising their children.

As evidence of shared responsibilities between mother and father, it is stated in Mark 10:6-9(quoting a part of it)… “Since they are no longer two but one,”…. If God has joined both man and woman and say that they are one, does it make sense if the mother takes care of the children by herself?

No it doesn’t, it will oppose the statement of God that blesses the marriage in terms of one persona instead of two people. Benefits of raising a child together is that it will strengthen the relationship or bondage between the couple and therefore the possibilities of divorce is out of the window for good. 

On the other side of this topic, a principle in Samoan culture is that, fathers are mostly likely to be accountable for the outdoor chores while the mothers are liable for mostly indoor chores (taking care of the children, doing the washing etc.)

A question that may arise is that; “If both mother and father focus on tending to the child, who will develop the family’s outside wealth (plantations)?

Overall, I firmly stand with the topic because it’s not only the mother’s responsibility to look after the children. As stated, the children will always need or demands attention from their fathers for their very own personal reasons.

Love between children and parents come from the times offered and sacrificed by either one of them to be spent together.

Foundations of families in terms of unity is very important which is why both mother and father need to work together in order to create a unshakable and  fixed foundation.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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