When did it come to this? Women have always been the backbone of the families for being the better managers. Before getting into the sack, they size up their men to make sure he has prospects to discharge his part of the responsibility of taking care of the family. In a polygamous family, which is the typical marriage in most parts of the world. Whatever the case, women remain the better organizers in most societies.
Along the way, something changed. Before many relationships with different women called serial monogamy from foreign land gained ground, African traditional marriage expected that younger women would take care of men as they got older. It gave the older wife a break as she got older too as they were taken care of by their older children. No matter what, children have always been closer to their mother though most men may not accept the fact.
This whole idea of polygamy or polyandry depends on the ratio of men and women in the society. Most jealous people want a man or a woman for themselves but that is not reality, even in the society where polygamy or monogamy is legal. So jealousy, grudge and payback are consequences that cannot be ruled out against one another when one has the upper hand. Using past transgressions to get back at an opportune time is not an excuse.
There used to be a time when children that have grown into adulthood thanked their father for being a disciplinarian. It has now changed to abuse. But for the stern discipline of our fathers, many of us could have fallen by the wayside. Most of us remember when the children of the poor with high moral character used to work harder and succeed more in life while the children of the rich, without discipline turned into spoiled brats.
Some daughters, looking at the dire situation of their poor fathers in their old age, are coming out to warn men to save some of their savings for their old age instead of spending everything on families that would ignore them in time of need. The irony of the advice is that the same advice was given to women in those days. Just in case mothers lose their husbands to some unforeseen circumstances!
The spite against fathers and husbands, if not addressed as some daughters are doing, would break whatever remains of the African culture most of us still cherish. There was a time when mothers said they tolerated some slights from their husbands only because they wanted their children to grow up with a man at home. Well, the children are grown now and the mothers are free to fly off like birds, stay or pay their husbands back in kind.
Monogamy creates the problem of expecting children that have always been closer to the mother to also take care of the father instead of the younger wife; according to traditional marriage. Where children also have the responsibility of taking care of their own families, it becomes a daunting task without government social services. Many of the children cannot physically or financially provide the support both parents need, so they naturally concentrate more on their immediate family and mothers.
Other grown children that have the means to take care of both parents may resent the divided attention their father had given to their siblings, his job, other women or other interests while their mothers concentrated on family. This may be misunderstood or even misinterpreted as indifference on the part of their father but certainly not deliberate indifference some make it to be as justification for the neglect of their fathers or husbands today.
Most fathers are trying to be good providers working very hard to provide for their families. But we all know that whoever you are, your best is never enough for some, just as you cannot possibly please everyone. There are children and mothers out there who wished they could get the care provided by your father. It might be the case of a new graduate who held a grudge because his father gave him a beetle Volks after graduation while some friends got Mercedes-Benz cars!
There is hardly a reason to neglect your father in his old age after spending the time and money he could afford on you. Sibling jealousy, discipline and grudge are no excuse. We cannot blame the possessive nature of some mothers to keep their children to themselves, it is up to older children to understand and be even-handed. Most children understand what their parents went through as they get older and start their own families.
Fathers used to work in the mines and got days off once a month or so, which prevented their daily presence at home. We do not resent them for that. The fear we had for fathers whether they were home or not, helped our mothers contain wayward behaviors. The house without a father figure, even as a relative, produced rascals. This was the reason mothers always threaten children with their fathers. It is difficult for a parent to raise, even one child alone.
There is something wrong in the Western world when white women that would hardly dare call the Police for their white husbands encourage others to do so. The same is true with Asian men and women. Yet, there are worse abuses going on in Europe and Asia. However, Black women outside Africa are quick to call the Police on Black men for anything that could have been settled between them or by extended families in Africa.
Old Asian men in the Diaspora are reacting violently after their wives and children neglected them into isolation. No ethics group can take as much abuse as Africans. Despite the label of being violent, they remain the most peaceful group outside Africa. In the age and trend of global village, even African men that were comfortable in Africa, have lost some cultural leadership men all over the world still have in their continent.
Africans or Blackmen hardly get respect, benefit of doubt or credibility outside Africa. Social workers and Police can easily throw them out of their homes on the report of their partners. Indeed, African women brought by African men into Europe and America bragged before leaving home of what they could do when they landed in America: could easily take away his house bought before she got there, if he disrespected her.
Only if he is not smart though!
Farouk Martins Aresa @oomoaresa