Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
A fundamental cornerstones of society. People say “blood is thicker than water”, in order to either ender us to our families, or subtly manipulate us to pay more attention to our families navigate to these guys.
The amazing thing is that families all look different. Different shapes and sizes. Different types of relationships, both good and bad. Its not what our family looks like that’s important. Its not even our “constitution” as a family that drives us (the way we get things done around here, the way we relate to each other). But it’s the fact that family is important. And its not something that many people will dispute. Globally, if you ask people what’s important to them they’ll chose a close relationship/family member over money or other “material” things. We can see the importance of “family” in peoples lives at weddings and funerals. Sometimes it brings out the worst in our families and the people in them, but the fact remains, there is something fundamentally important in this blood-link, and adoptive-link, between human beings who consider themselves family.
There are households across the world who are not functioning well as family. The desire was there (sometime in the past) to have a family, possibly through an intentional process of falling in love, starting a family, living life together, yet often this “living life” in a tough environment with struggles and hardships all around, can take its toll. Then one day, it just doesn’t seem to work. No one is happy. Everyone is miserable. One of the big frustrations of this situation in the family, is from men. They work hard to provide and protect their family. Their wives or girlfriends are working also. Yet everyone is unhappy, arguments are frequent, even though sometimes there is money on the table, however hard to come by, is just not enough. People are complicated. Or are they?
When asking men in Zimbabwe “What is a man?”, some of the frequent responses were to Provide, another was to Protect. The difficulty is that Providing for our families is not just cash. Provision can be emotional, spiritual, being physically present and in many other areas. Protecting our families is not just about a high wall around the property and a cricket bat by the front door. The world is more complicated than it used to be. The internet and social media has invaded our homes, and we no longer have any control on the things are children watch, “like” tweet or do in their rooms. Or do we?
Over the next few weeks, we are going to explore some of the things that can help us bridge the gap between feeling like family is important but not knowing how to provide, protect and be present in our families.