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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thoughts on Family Week

On Weddings

♥ What should impress us more is not the pomp of a marriage ceremony  but the quality of the couple's relationship after their wedding. Some "Weddings of the Year/Decade/Century" have turned out to be "Marital Disasters of the Year/Decade/Century."

♥ Some marry to satisfy their sexual needs, have kids, and  have lifelong partners; others to acquire punching bags, make money, and possess slaves.

♥ During the veil ceremony in some Christian weddings, half of the veil is cast over the  woman's head and the other half over the man's shoulder symbolizing the woman's submission to the man and the man's responsibility to his family.  Something wrong there, I think. Since submission in a marital relationship is mutual according to Paul (Eph 5.21 f) and family is a shared responsibility between wife and husband,  shouldn't the veil cover even the man's head, instead?

♥ It is a big deal to many whether a wedding rite is civil (court) or religious (church). In fact, some even go to the extent of questioning the validity of a wedding ceremony that is not "blessed" by a priest or minister.  But consider: the judge (or consul, military commander, ship captain, airplane chief, mayor, etc. as the case may be) and the priest/minister are authorized by the same legal code (i.e. Family Code) to solemnize weddings; Paul of Tarsus said that governments are ordained of God and that Christians are to obey governmental laws (Rom 13.1, f); a wedding ceremony done outside any ecclesiastical jurisdiction but nevertheless satisfies the requisites of the Family Code is thus divinely sanctioned.  But why do some religious leaders insist that their members marry "in church"? As a tool of control, perhaps? Or maybe, as a way of maintaining a steady flow of church income?

♥ Witnessing a marriage between very young lovers always reminds me of Jose Garcia Villa's "Footnote to Youth."  This short story tells of a man named Dodong who prevailed upon his father to be allowed to marry at 18.  Six kids down the years taught him his hard lesson on life.  When Dodong's first child, Blas, turned 18, he also asked his father's blessings in marriage and Dodong found himself unable to deny his son the triumph of youthhood.

On Parenthood

♥ Six years into fatherhood, I realized that one can never prepare enough for the challenges of parenthood.  I have made a lot of mistakes already as a father to my children (especially in the area of discipline) and no doubt I will make some more mistakes in the years to come though hard I may try not to.  This is no excuse  though to give up striving each day to give parenthood my best shot.  I always try to keep Jonas Salk's words in mind: "Parents give their children roots and wings -- roots to know where home is, and wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them." Tough call! :)

♥ Dr. Susan Forward likens nurturing kids to sowing seeds -- a parent sows in the heart of the child either seeds of weeds or seeds of flowers.  Good reminder for me.  Dr. Forward, by the way, classifies Toxic Parents as follows:

The Inadequate Parents: Constantly focusing on their own problems, they turn their children into “mini-adults” who take care of them.

The Controllers: They use guilt, manipulation, and even over-helpfulness to direct their children’s lives.

The Alcoholics: Mired in denial and chaotic mood swings, their addiction leaves little time or energy for the demands of parenthood.

The Verbal Abusers: Whether overtly abusive or sarcastic, they demoralize their children with constant put-downs and rob them of their self-confidence.

The Physical Abusers: Incapable of controlling their own deep-seated rage, they often blame their children for their own uncontrollable behavior.

The Sexual Abusers: Whether flagrantly sexual or covertly seductive, they are the ultimate betrayers, destroying the very heart of childhood – its innocence.

Forward, Susan & Craig Buck. 1989. Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life. New York: Bantam Books.

♥ The "Parable of the Lost Son" (Luke 15) tells us that a father must evidence a sense of responsibility no matter what  (he provided for his sons), gives no matter what ("So he divided his property among them), and forgives or loves no matter what ("But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him..."; "The older brother became angry and refused to go in so his father went out and pleaded with him...").

♥ I'd like to spell out motherhood in four letters: M.A.R.Y.  Memorial - mothers always remember their children, and will always be remembered for their sacrifices. Amnesia - sadly, mothers must prepare to be forgotten; many are mothers who, in their dying days,  end up unappreciated and neglected, even blamed by their own children for a host of reasons. Responsibility - motherhood carries with it power and influence as well as risks; a mother has a lot more to face beyond morning sickness and post-partum depression. Yardstick - although good parenting does not always result in good children, many are they who measure the success of motherhood by the way the children turned out to be.

♥ My mother, Anatalia Magkachi Saboy, is celebrating her 75th birthday on 28 September.  I wish for her a smile on her lips as she watches the sun's afternoon glow slowly dimming...

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