Retiring is a difficult job to do (I can confirm that). It becomes especially so when one does not have anyone to share work memories with. As a result, I find myself feeding from my inboxes. It is a daily binge. I try however to stay clear of negative conversations while participating in and following those which give value to relationships.
It is generally believed that up to 85 percent of our happiness comes from relationships with other people. Whether familial, friendly or professional, relationships have the capacity to build, nourish and sustain as easily as they can destroy, malnourish and impoverish.
Indeed, this is why such engagements as sports, religious and community groups play an important role in building and enriching the sense of community.
Someone summarised the function of relationships in the following way: “I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind. I should not be ungrateful to these teachers.”
Accordingly, I believe it is fair to say that every situation or encounter in life (what one pastor calls the seasons of life) carries a lesson. This mindset informed my work as a reporter. The challenge is to identify the lesson and have it for (a weekly) takeaway. Further, in an age where mental health issues are tied to the quality of our personal relations, the importance of healthy connections cannot be overemphasised.
Foresight Factory CEO Meabh Quoirin has observed that “in the woke era, knowing what is ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ speech and behaviour in any situation can be a minefield…what will you dare to say in 2019?” If I distil Meabh’s observation, I get to author Bruce Kasanoff who encourages us to “treasure genuine human relationships above arms-length fleeting relationships and or social media interactions.”
Today’s world presents a richer library. Technological advancements provide more lessons from ever-increasing platforms of communication. I find myself besotted with Twitter. Short, punchy lines often provide eye-opening and instructive lessons. Once upon a time, I found myself following a series of tweets by young women in response to the question, “ladies, I have a question for you. Would you marry a man like your dad?”
It was an unexpected question; one that took me on to a formidable debating platform. As I noted earlier, relationships play a central role in our growth and development. The ensuing conversation took the form of a support group.
More importantly, I discovered that the question that began the tweets is not as strange as I thought. It is not arcane; people are discussing it. Indeed, quick research showed that the subject has also attracted scholarly interventions.
Jessica Padykula in StyleCaster wrote: “Women end up marrying men who are like their fathers. How you were treated by your father as you were growing up helps shape your view of men in general and what you expect from them. It sets a standard…”
In SheKnows.com Lifestyles, I found this observation: “The pro to marrying a man like your father, says House, is that you already understand the type of person your husband is. However, this could backfire. A lot of men cannot live up to the expectations that a woman puts on them and so there can be issues that come up in the relationship.”
Dr. Lynda Boothroyd of Durham University chipped in with the following observation:“We can now say that daughters who have positive childhood relationships with their fathers choose men with similar central facial characteristics to their fathers.” As an interested party, I got lost here! I focused instead on the exchanges in front of me.
One quick answer was forthright, declaring that “not only would I marry a man like my dad; I think I would be incredibly happy with a man like my dad. Another encouraging (remember I have an interest) tweet said “my goal is to marry a man like my daddy. He puts my mama first through anything; surprises her with trips, frequently brings her flowers, he prays with her and for her, he tells her he loves her a million times a day (that’s a challenge), calls her beautiful every day…he’s a blessing.
In response, one contributor seemed to despair. Her tweet celebrated with the positive answers while explaining her tepid tone. She said, “this is a blessing to see growing up. Be grateful. Most of my parents’ interactions with each other were arguments.” As the conversation drew in more participants, I felt an unmistakable sense of anguish. I will share the following:
“Already made that mistake once, so …”
“I love my dad, but I’d rather be alone than be with a man like him.” And to this, someone simply added, “hell, nooo.”
“No, I am daddy’s girl through and through but there are qualities of his that I can’t overlook/wouldn’t want to be wed to…”
A sober reflection just said “I think about this every day.”
I need to be fair. I found these answers decidedly sweet: “Yes, and I would be the happiest woman alive.”
“Honestly, yes. He was never afraid to admit any mistakes! He tried and succeeded, cheap as hell, but he gives me knowledge every day. He’s literally one of my favourite people in the world and I talk about him every day.”
How about this one line for a closing argument? “Yes, but they don’t make them anymore.”
It was another chapter in my parenting. I found it instructive that our young people take time to interrogate issues that determine the kind of world they wish to live in. It was a refreshing break from the sometimes angry and directionless exchanges.
It was clear that the discussants welcomed this as an opportunity of learning. The conversation was a pleasant reminder that in today’s world – one that is often described as crazy, fast-paced and characterized by the pursuit of self-interest - we still think of community.
* The Weekly Takeaway will seek to present articles that revolve around the broad subject of communication. For social support is needed today to address the problems of physical, emotional and spiritual health.
New Era Reporter
2019-02-01 10:03:15 4 months ago