So here we are, the first of three nights without Paula and the house is calm. Eli was in bed at the usual time (6.30pm), fed, watered, bathed and with clean teeth - all 6 of them. Joel was an hour late to bed but that was planned as we had pizza for tea whilst watching Disney's Peter Pan. Joel really enjoyed both and after demolishing his pizza asked for more! He went to bed at 8pm very tired but very happy. I even managed a two hour ride up Sir Lowry's Pass (could that be misconstrued as a 'double entendre'?) this afternoon. I know it's only the first night, but it's great to know that our family routine continues despite any changes.

So what's this post about? Am I just blowing my own trumpet or is there a point? Well yes I do have a point. Prior to Paula's departure we had a number of different conversations with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures most of whom expressed surprise and even a bit of shock at the thought of Paula going away for a few days leaving dad to cope with the children. The ladies from Chris Nissen were generally agreed that it was a good thing but acknowledged that thier menfolk would never undertake such a commitment. Amongst Paula's friends (mostly white and some Afrikaaners) most agreed that their husbands would probably not agree to such an undertaking and if they did, the mums would worry about the carnage waiting to be cleared up on their return. For us coming form a more liberal culture in which dads are encouraged to participate, we're quite taken aback by the comments and attitudes we've experienced.

Why shouldn't a dad be fully committed and involved in the raising of his children? Why leave it to the mums? Amazingly, some folk have expressed the view that we're wrong and Paula shouldn't go away. Others think I'm not a 'real' man as I'm prepared to take on the womans role. Yep such attitudes are alive and well in the 'New South Africa' (which raises concerns at a whole other level, but I'll not go there). We see things quite differently and not just because we come from a different culture. Our view is that if we want our children and just as importantly, other men and families to grasp the 'fatherhood' of God, then as Christians we need to model healthy family life. I'm determined that my boys will know a life I never had. They will grow up knowing their dad but more importantly their dad will model the father son relationship of the New Testament. I want my boys to grow up with a healthy understanding of God as their father and I will do what it takes to make this happen.

So that is my point. Looking after my boys is a genuine act of a real man and it is perfectly right that Paula should be part of a church planting team. We're both serving God and seeking to extend His kingdom, we're just expressing it a little differently. We're all already missing Paula/Mummy but we are excited about what she is involved in. God will use her and His name will be glorified through this time. Dad will spend some brilliant quality time with his two amazing sons. What more could anyone ask for?

1 comment:

  1. Society here is very male dominated "machismo" rules, the woman does all the house-stuff and child-raising, even though more and more women are also having careers, they're just expected to be fully supermum. The person who does a lot of the pastoral care on the Latin Link team is female and does a lot of travelling. Over the years she has just got used to the comments about "You're taking HIS truck, and leaving him with YOUR kids?" She responds: Whose kids? Whose truck?


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