View Points by Dr. T
The Papa and the 3 Wishes
Coming from what would be considered a “traditional” family is how the majority of people relate to the roles and responsibilities that parents have in raising children. However, in these contemporary times of ever-evolving positions and accountabilities within the family unit, and the redefinition and inclusion of what some might call the “non-traditional family,” it is often difficult to delineate the role of the Momma and/or the Papa as clearly and definitively as we once did. It is no longer the standard norm that the Papa is the “bread winner” working outside the home as the primary earner. Many women make more money than their male counterparts and are deeply entrenched in America’s workforce. At the same time, there has been a cultural shift that works to recognize the role of stay-at-home mothers or fathers as fully engaged in the workforce in valid ways – and are now considered “working parents” – as important and effective as the parent who works “outside” the household. We must also put single parents in the mix. Many become single parents by choice and others due to unforeseen circumstances. This was once seen as a group outside the norm, but we now have to include them as we consider parenting models, and additionally, the LBGTQ community with families that have two same-sex parents. All of these models also include blended families, shared parenting and co-parenting scenarios that usually come about due to divorce and remarrying and/or children born outside of marriage or committed partnerships.
Tradition, Tradition, Tradition are lyrics of one of the most recognized songs from the award winning musical Fiddler on the Roof, that shares the story of a man (Tevye) and his family which includes his wife and three daughters, all of whom are of marrying age, and the “traditional time” in adulthood when adult children leave home to start their own families. The lyrics of the song continue:
[TEVYE & PAPAS]
Who, day and night, must scramble for a living,
Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
And who has the right, as master of the house,
To have the final word at home?
Fiddler on the Roof is rooted in the cultural and religious continuum of Judaism to which the idea of “tradition” is foundational to its faith and cultural practice. There are traditions and cultural norms in other cultures and ethnicities, as well, that dictate the roles and responsibilities assigned to people based on their specific sex and gender; however, there continue to be challenges to those norms and expectations in our contemporary society. We can now be inclusive of both the traditional and the non-traditional ways and means of effective parenting. The effective Papa, whether traditional or not, connects with his children, grows with them, and has both hopes and dreams for the lives of those children as the years come and go. The Papa’s sphere of influence within the lives of the children he parents is generally connected to the level of his commitment and the amount of time invested in raising them. When Papa makes the investment of love, commitment, time, energy and resources in his children, it is only natural that he would want to see what the outcome of his investment would be. The 3 wishes he would make are to be able to see his children grow up to become parents…and his children’s children do the same and, finally, to see those grandchildren see the joy of becoming parents too. That Papa would truly be a blessed man to have those 3 wishes come true.
Up Next Week: The Legacy You Leave