The media has recently brought to public attention issues that are currently dividing our society and, perhaps, even threaten its destruction.
Very much in the spotlight is the controversy over lesbians using government-funded IVF programs by which to have babies.
This controversy encompasses a myriad of issues, but one, in particular, has me very concerned and that is the systematic removal of men fathers from the family.
The Age of the Nuclear Family father, mother and children has all but disappeared. Over the last twenty years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of single-parent families; and, almost invariably, the single parent is the mother.
True, sometimes divorce is a necessary evil. But how can it be necessary for nearly half of all marriages? Surely it is obvious that divorce is too easy? No one has the patience, long-suffering and self-sacrifice that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had. These attributes are the essence of true love.
To add to this problem, lesbian lovers are lining up to start families of their own. Men cannot even voice their opinion on this subject without being labelled sexist and bigoted. Men are not wanted at all (except for the genetic donation, thank you very much!). We are breeding masculinity out of society.
But what is even worse is the harm that the current ideology is having on the school-system. More and more schools are clamping down on irrepressible boyish behaviour, forcing them to act like girls. What they consider to be unruliness is simply normal boyish conduct. This problem is further exacerbated by a lack of male teachers, who have been resigning in droves.
Why? Part of the reason is that male teachers suffer numerous innuendoes, malicious gossip, public libel, and even civil action, if they are seen hugging, or touching, a child. A man can no longer give fatherly love and support to a child, without being accused of paedophilia. (This problem also exists in other institutions and organizations, such as the Boy Scouts).
The ultimate result from all this is a generation of boys growing up with no father figure in, or outside, the home.
Has society paused to consider the effect of fatherlessness on children? Especially on young boys? Has it stopped to consider why the suicide rate is the highest amongst teenage-boys and young men?
Lest we be judged to be too critical, the following is an extract from an article by Jane Gordon, a British journalist and former ardent feminist:
"And what has wrought this dramatic change in me? My son. Two years ago I gave birth to a boy. Now I understand, as I watch him at play, that the male characteristics I mocked are a vital part of his being. That eternal search for danger, that obsession with machinery, that infernal preoccupation with sport all, I have discovered, are innate in the male.".
"My love for these boyish ways and my growing adoration of his very masculinity are curiously at odds with my old stance. If all men are bastards, what pray, are little boys?
"Only now, faced with my small son's naturally macho instincts, am I beginning to worry about the effects of this contemporary anti-male obsession. I now find Jo Brand's comment, "Never trust a man with testicles", more threatening than funny.
"Indeed, rather in the way that previous generations feared for their daughter's future, my generation fears for it's sons."
"Kiddie culture now reflects the same compulsion to feminise the male that today dominates our society. Small boys are discouraged from displaying any overtly masculine traits: they are urged to be less competitive, less boisterous, less dominant.
"Our sons are in danger of growing up believing that those things that come naturally to them wanting to run faster than anyone else, wanting to clamber to the very top of the climbing frame, wanting to knock down the Sticklebrick wall they have just built are in some way peculiar and unhealthy."
"The truth is that neither the male nor the female should dominate. The emasculated male is as abhorrent as the subservient female.
"Heaven knows, I would hate to go back to a time when a woman's place was in the kitchen. I love the freedom I have to lead the life I want. But that freedom will mean nothing if it has threatened the happiness of my son" (Sunday Mail Magazine, July 10, 1994, p. 7).
Those who support the new ideology have often said that it is better for a child to have no father rather than to have a bad father. But isn't it better still for a child to have a good father? Shouldn't that be what society should be encouraging? And isn't it often the case that men who are bad fathers usually had bad fathers or even no fathers themselves? Our society has created a vicious cycle of pain and despair that is threatening to devour all our children.
What can we do? All of us, regardless whether or not we are parents, can strive to be better role-models for the children in our lives: sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, godchildren and grandchildren as well as students and even the children of friends and neighbours who may be lacking proper role-models.
We all have a duty to show God's love to the children of this lost generation.
"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).
Such is the love of our Heavenly Father for His children.
from Voice in the Wilderness,
July-Sept. 2000, v. 8(3),
Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George, Brisbane QLD