Gone are the days when the perfect picture of a ‘normal’ family was that of a married couple living under the same roof with their children. The father drops the kids at school, the mother goes grocery shopping and the family eats a home-made meal for dinner. The parents alternate in reading bedtime stories to their kids before they sleep after which they spend some quality time together before the day ends.
Parents were careful of what they said to each other in front of their kids even in a heated argument. The kids boasted about how much their parents love each to their friends in school. Every guy wanted to get married a woman who would cherish him the way his mother did his father and every girl wanted a guy who would love her the way her dad loved her mother. Or was it just the ideal picture our favourite soap operas tried to paint in our head?
Because it seems that the latter years have not done much justice to preserving the family system. Single parenting appears to be the most popular style in this part of the 21st century. The longest time spent together as a unit is when there is a special dinner (when the child insists on it).
One has to endure living with the mother who seems to have a hard luck landing the next Mr. Right to complete her. She goes out on a date with a different guy every month; some nice enough to smile at you and a few others considerate enough to try to know your name. Then every weekend is a shuttle service to the dad’s. He does his best to convince you that you’re the best thing that ever happened to him and he loves you so much. Whatever misunderstanding between himself and the mother does not make him love you any less. You ask him if he still loves your mother. He says yes. So come home, you plead but he shakes his head. Sometimes, it’s easier to love from a distance, he says.
Your mum also says they just need some time apart to heal and I wonder why invite other men in if all you want is space? She also says the door is always open to your father whenever he wants to come back home but you always see her with crossed arms at the door whenever he drops you home. When you ask what happened, she says when things became tough, he ran away.
This makes me wonder if love is as all-encompassing as it is described to be. All the promises of forever and always are quickly forgotten when one feels cheated, betrayed and lied to. Or maybe for better for worse is too much of a promise to fulfil. So we invest what we can for a moment and hope for better returns. When it yields much, then we consider whether to invest a little more or hold on a little. And when the returns are below expectation, we withdraw our investments and find another bank that promises better profits. Uh huh, romance has gone corporate now.
If a family living together under one roof is becoming an unfamiliar concept to children of this age, then the future of a complete family is at risk. Now that statistics is the new gospel, people will walk down the aisle knowing deep down in their hearts that they would not grow old together.
If almost all kids classify their parents as ‘stay-at-home mum and runaway dad’ then soon it would end up being ‘a mum with unknown dad’ or vice versa very soon. If only parents would realize by their actions they are raising a generation of people who would not cherish family and thus won’t even bother to salvage one if it falls on rocks. If only they would think of how altered their children’s lives turn out because they couldn’t keep it together…
But you and I could change the pace if we put our minds to it. No splitting when the times get hard, when one crosses the line. But for the sake of the vows taken in holy matrimony, we would build stable homes for posterity to emulate. Family is the seed of all societies and so if it breaks, how could any other institution stand?
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