“Children belong in families,” is MARFAM’s theme for the month of June and that includes the younger ones as well as youth,  This upcoming weekend in SA we celebrate Youth Day as well as Fathers’ Day.   Youth Day is significant as it commemorates 16 June 1976; Soweto youth took the initiative away from their parents by protesting about inferior education imposed on them.  That action played a major role in the ongoing history of our country and no doubt had an impact on families too over the last nearly 50 years.  The boys and girls of 1976 have been fathers and mothers, and are now already grandparents of the youth of today.  They continue to have many problems with education and finding employment. However are their families more stable? Change has certainly happened, especially in the last 30 years of democracy, but not enough to promote the overall social wellbeing of all of society.  The accepted norm for families 50 years ago was for marriage, nuclear plus the extended family, but what has been the role of fathers?  Very many men have been migrant workers, with limited time in their families. While children were born, and fathers were respected, it has most often been mothers and grandparents who have taken the major parental role.  Today women are playing greater roles in the workplace too and there is societal pressure on fathers to become more active in the lives of their children when they are not at creche, school or with carers.  Absentee fatherhood is all too common, to the detriment of their children and themselves.  Teenage pregnancy does involve a father and even for very young fathers a bond between him and his child can ideally be formed even starting at birth. Some children live with their paternal family and social fatherhood is a phenomenon noted too, which means that often a man in the house is not a biological father of one or more of the children.

Some parishes may enjoy and celebrate Father’s Day and Youth Day on 16 June, while others have said, they can’t do so because many fathers are not around.  However, recognising the importance of fathers for families I propose that a prayer may be said for all fathers, present and absent, for whatever reason and for their children, that they may be blessed, love and respect their dad. A blessing  can be given to the many men who are committed fathers, living out the  ideals that children belong in families and so do fathers.

South Africans are still internalizing the election of May 29 and the present realignment of political parties and social thinking overall, not to forget all the other priorities that need to be addressed.   While there  will naturally be some hiccups in the process of setting up parliament and other governmental activities, there is a degree of good will and genuine concern for the good of every member of our “World of families.”   What is a GNU,  as a Government of National Unity, the model being proposed for South Africa?  I see it is as still a rather unusual kind of creation, trying our best to make the best out of what is available to us.  That strange word GNU has meaning for some in the computer world, but for me, it rings a bell in my mind about an old  English comedy song  by the duo Flanders and Swann, “I’m a gnu”, another but peculiar name for what we know as the good old African wildebeest.  There is nothing more enjoyable than a family sing-a-long, so listen and join in the song “I’m a gnu,” for some light relief in the current complex and serious reality facing our country.  Animation Gaming XBox (   We must all hope and pray that the South African GNU will be a long term wildly successful creation.     TR    Family Weekly 12 June 2024    


June 12.  Beatitudes.  Patrick and May his mom often discussed the lawlessness in society today.  She said,  “I think it started with taxis not obeying traffic laws and then came load shedding and many robots were out of order. Now anyone seems to think we can stop and go as we like.” “I agree it is just a small example but it certainly is right there in your face and very annoying too.”  “Except when you are the guilty one, right?”   

Reflect, share, scripture:  Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets.  I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.  Whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called last in the kingdom of heaven.  Mat 5:17-19. Pope Francis:  Whether in administration of the state, the various levels of civil society or relationships between individuals themselves lack of respect for the law is becoming more common.   Laws may be well framed yet remain a dead letter. LS 166. If we can overcome individualism we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society. LS 208   ACTION and prayer.   Is obeying traffic laws a good example of care for the common good?