Wanted! More men to lead the family
And I said, "Daddy, I'm so afraid
How will I go on, with you gone that way?
Don't wanna cry anymore so may I stay with you?"
And he said, "That's my job, that's what I do
Everything I do is because of you
To keep you safe with me, that's my job, you see."
- That's My Job, Conway Twitty
As the world celebrates International Men's Day today, Pastor Zebulah Aiken is calling for more men to be in charge of the family structure.
Pointing out that men were intended to be the head of the family, Aiken said too many women are taking charge of households both as caregivers and standing the financial responsibilities.
"Shortage of men can be seen in every strata of society. On any given Sunday, visit any church and they will be outnumbered by large numbers by women, in the schools and in the workforce ... it's time to do something about it," she told Family and Religion.
Aiken, whose church Miracle Tabernacle Church of God of Prophecy in Free Town, Clarendon has a thriving men's ministry, said the numbers can still be improved.
She noted that she insists during christening of babies that the fathers are present.
"If they are not, we assign a father figure...that's how important this leadership role is for us," she said.
Take back the reins
Citing the breakdown of Jamaica's family structure with its ricocheting effects in the classrooms, she said there is an urgent need for men to take back control of the reins giving children the firm, yet loving hand to change the course they are on.
"Kudos to all the fathers and father figures who are already playing these roles, but men need to realise it cannot be business as usual, there are just too many broken families for that," she said.
Bemoaning the fact that not a lot of men are even cognisant of the celebration of this day that is set aside for them, she points out that today should have been used for them to "get back in touch" with their families.
"It would have been a great way to celebrate this, their day, by using it to spend quality time with the family, going out on a family picnic or doing some fun stuff with your families," said Aiken.
A lot of men are not short on giving money, or taking care of the physical needs when it comes to their families, but there is also a place for leadership.
According to her, many are too content to leave the day-to-day decisions and the disciplinarian roles to mothers.
"Adam fell short when he allowed himself to be persuaded by Eve in the garden. If he had stood up as a man and obeyed God's instructions, history would have been rewritten," she said.
Using the analogy, Aiken said, men must put their feet down and start showing that they are leaders.
Being a leader, she said, does not mean that men have to be earning more money, but should be disciplining the children, providing a good support for their wives and presenting a united front to the world.
Citing society's ills where a lot of young persons are now running afoul of the law, she said it stems from a lack of good father figures in the homes.
"Give your girls someone to look up to; she will seek a man just like you when the time comes. Show your boys what it means to be a responsible and nurturing man, he will someday be you," she noted.