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“The female factor”

Issue 4 - May 2012

The KEY RING is a monthly publication by the Kampala Baptist Church Men’s Ministry that seeks to provide an avenue where men can share knowledge and understanding of the word of God, experiences, encourage one another as the older men also perform the act of ‘paralambano’ to the younger men. Our prayer is that the Lord will speak to you through these publications.

This month, we take time to analyse the impact the female factor has had on the institution of fatherhood
For example: the male, female nurse ratio at the children's ward at Mulago Hospital is 1:12; that of male to female teachers in kindergarten is 1:10 with that of lower primary at 3:6.*

My father used to sit under the muvule tree on Sundays in the compound, reading the newspaper. He always made sure he gave me the children's page so I could color it up and when he bought me toys (which was once in a yellow moon) it would be guns, cars or boots. In contrast, when my mum would buy me stuff, it would be teddy bears which is the reason I always fought with my elder sister.

The importance of the first five years of a child's life have been acknowledged by economists, behavioral psychologists, biologists, educators and more professions than we have space for. The impact of those first few years is so A slight smile lingered on my face at this comparison; why was mum's enormous that individuals, families and institutions later depend on it. This thinking about the things that I liked and needed so different from importance can't be over emphasized. dad's? Though sadly they later separated, each had their own specific Economic factors however certainly affect fathers’ involvement in the input into my life that would later shape me into the perfamily and in turn his ability to be a great father. In many son that I am and the father I am going to be. parts of the world, men work hundreds of A while back, I called up my mum to wish Kilometers away from their homes in order to her a happy mothers' day, I had totalprovide sufficiently for their families. ly forgotten but the media was Many others have to work long hours, awash with amazing stories often in two jobs just to keep their about mothers, my church families afloat. Under such even took out time to praise circumstances, hands-on involvethe wonderful institution of ment with children is almost motherhood. I called her up impossible (Presser, 1988). to thank her, and as is my Therefore it turns out that when way of doing things, I called faced with the critical decision up my dad to thank him too between staying close and strugand somehow we started gling to support his family or having a discussion on the moving further out to provide, meaning of motherhood and many a man will opt for the disfatherhood. tance. When fatherhood is mentioned, it is generally portrayed as a guy-only institution. If it were a university, all the students, teachers, teaching-assistants: basically everyone would be male. Another psychologist John Bowlby suggested that in the early years of a child's life, they are most likely to get attached to one individual at a time, and in most of these cases it will be the mother since she best responds to its needs. While in this phase, all that seems to be left for the man to do is pay the bills and wait on Truth is, fellow men can teach you a lot of things, but they can't teach the mother. This seems to be the way nature has designed it to be. you how to handle your daughter when she is having PMS; they can't teach you how to notice the new hair style on her head when Culture too, seems (although this is slowly changing) to support this. Child Manchester United is about to lose the title fight and as a child they rearing appears to be a female job. If the baby wails when in its fathers' don't tell you that when you hit a girl and are always pushing her hands, he will quickly hand it back to its mother (because in an average man’s around on the compound, it might be that you like her. mind, when a baby cries, it needs to be breast fed). Also, in most species the nurturing role appears to come more naturally to the females compared to The ratio of females present in the lives of children compared to men is the males! staggering especially in our culture; most house-helps are female, so are So, is all lost for the men? Should we hang up our boots and give up; after all, most Sunday school teachers, nursery school teachers and lower it seems both natural and culturally convenient for the women to spend primary teachers, the list goes on! more time with the children?
Picture is of Pastor Francis Kironde Mayinja with his daughter Melody and son Dennis Kironde *Research was done by Eugene Kavuma

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What do you think?
How was your institution of fatherhood affected by the female factor? We want to hear from you. Please also tell us what you think, what you want the next issues to address. we value your feed back. Write to us using the contact below. Thank you

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