Integrated Leadership in Family and the Church
One of the 2017 successes was registered when HFMB Council members participated in the Central Deanery Recollection held at Resurrection Garden on 10th June 2017. This event was organized by PPC Executive of HFMB and KNH Chaplaincy.
The main facilitator was Fr. Lukwata
Recollection Notes & Personal reflections
By: Rev. Prof. John Lukwata
INTRODUCTION: Word on Christian Leadership
Word of appreciation to all members of the Central Deanery on the day of recollection (PPC) and for your leadership roles in the Deanery: To Paul Kasimu and Judith Gondi for the invitation to share with you. I have had a chance to interact with some of you at Holy Family Basilica and St. Paul’s Chapel. I am sharing some reflection on Leadership in the Church and something on the Boy Child.
To be a leader is a noble duty in the Church.
Leaders would emulate the example of Jesus Christ Our Lord: who came not to be served but to serve and to give up his life as a ransom for many (Mk.9:42-45).Bishops and Clergy exercise leadership in the framework of service. Lay leaders exist to build the Body of Christ in diverse roles: in SCCs, Parish Council, with the
Youth, PMC, Choir, Parish Associations and Groups, Catholic Schools etc. To be a leader is to volunteer and to sacrifice. At times people will misunderstand your intentions, they will complain and criticize…You will often be your own cheerleader. Be strong and don’t despair.
Create TRUST and a sense of belonging:
Leadership in the Church at all levels demands sensitivity to the diversity of the communities, age groups, gender and also ethnic makeup. Try to avoid biases or marginalizing: Be informed and create platforms to inform others.
Team Spirit will mean involvement of all.
Identifying and utilization of different talents for the benefit of the communities…Avoid doing everything alone or unhealthy competition within the parish. Protect the common good.
Accountability is key for maintaining a healthy style of leadership…Cultivate this also within the family set up.
CHALLENGES OF THE BOY CHILD IN TODAY’S FAMILY SET UP
Following the global agenda, Africa agenda put extra emphasis on the GIRL: to uplift the girl child… The girl child should go to school… should be empowered. All attention went to girls. Society became somehow unreasonably too harsh to boys. Boys became ignored and in the process, the BOY child was not taught or oriented on how to cope or to co-exist with the increasingly empowered girl child.
This led to the loss of ESTEEM, feeling useless, unmotivated, lazy, shy, wasted. “Let girls do it”…since girls can now do what boys would do. Boys became vulnerable …hard work no longer pays. Boys became vulnerable to radicalization trends. Some are looking for shortcuts…abandon hard work to girls (lethargic…sloth…prone to cheating and drugs)
Breakdown of “families’’. Today, fathers can be absent (physical absence, emotional absence, psychological absence, and spiritual absence). Mothers can also be absent (The JOY of LOVE, n. 176) Dysfunctional families: trial marriages, cohabitation…adultery…separation, divorce, and remarriage, the children suffer.
Parents’ abuse, children-step parents harass them–.hate them…different father or mother – behavior that is unbecoming or kids fighting each other, or withdrawn, lacking concentration, impulsive or violent. (Children can, of course, outgrow these trends)
Even where normal family exists, there can be a breakdown of communication. Couples coming home exhausted and not wanting to talk to each other. Texting each other even when they are in the same house. Father working very hectic…. comes back late… no time to spend with kids… mother also is working (not stay at home mum) – babysitters in charge of children …house maids.
Families no longer able to pray together/eat a meal together. Come home tired and exhausted…not talk to their children…no quality time with them (Read Psalm 128: speaks of a table where spouses are surrounded with children…a good wife…) Pope Francis, the Joy of Love: no. 50 speaks of the delicate balance between securing the future… and enjoying the present… PRAYER as a family, TIME FOR PRAYER There is time for everything else but for PRAYER.
Whenever you pray, a battle begins. The tempter tries everything to divert you so that you postpone. You do not feel like praying (It is called Acedia: Cf. Catechism, no.2733) The Spirit is willing… Flesh is weak (Mt.26:41). Yet, the Christian family is the first place of education in Prayer. Parents are the first heralds of faith to their children.
The EUCHARIST is the Covenant that nourishes the family (married couples bound in a Covenant of LOVE) other sacraments. Example of the entire family that went for shopping before Christmas and…then all came for Confession (Dad, mum, Eldest to youngest) and at the Mass all sitting on the same pew and receive Holy Communion…WENT home spiritually satisfied.
The family that prays together stays together (CCC 2725). Support groups …SCC or prayer groups. Pope Francis simple ways of prayer as a habit, not a crisis (spirit is willing but the flesh is weak Mt 26/41) Rosary, Our Father, Hail Mary, Psalms
Breakdown of TRUST between spouses: spying on each other …suspicions arise for late coming…possessive)
ADDICTION/Radicalization through social media for both boys and girls (TV, Phone, Internet…Video games).The kids are smart…no longer relate to human beings…relate to machines (suicide cases are on the increase) Strange programmes on TV. Surfing in cybercafé, no control ….strange hours at night, radicalization, and pornographic material.
Today, sex is detached from the person and sold or bought as a product. The seller and consumer are both left empty and miserable. There is no mutual respect, care, commitment. We live in a generation that is incapable of loving holistically (spare the rod and spoil the child… some form of denial is needed, fascination with the West, children’s rights…fascination with western culture/lifestyles/language, alienated people…
what we see in soap operas/movies is not what is the reality in our daily lives. We risk becoming cultural nomads with no cultural identity of culture and values. (UK, Germany, Japan, India, Korea etc. all have advanced but taking along their cultures). Fascination with western culture/lifestyles/language has alienated us
In some cases, there are no viable options due to ratio of men and women (civil war in Mozambique). But now it is fashionable; a result of free choice (or due to separation or divorce or even widowhood) or even as a reaction to male dominance. Husbands are accused of domestic violence or a serious lack of maturity. Lack of TRUST – A reliable, honest loving husband is not available:
“I will raise my children and also have time for myself”. Ladies reject the notion that males are the sole providers in the home. Nevertheless: Single motherhood (and divorce) deprives the children of the father figure.
»Not that in a stable family things are always ok…boys of single mothers can also become very good, but not always…if destiny cannot be changed…introduce the boys to their grandfathers and uncles and male friends to at or to live.
On BOYS (Girls): Pressure to excel.. to become Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers) WISHING THE BEST FOR YOUR CHILDREN IS GOOD… Children may not necessarily love those jobs hence they become bad professionals taking bribes etc.
Competition in topnotch schools that having a child in them is automatic ticket to a good grade to College)…rich are flocking to them… the least associated with them a bit – engage them.
»Children with single parents can be over loved… overprotected, permitted to do everything… Lack of male role models makes boys become effeminate for lack of father figure…is absent. Pope Francis speaks of it in The Joy of Love: and says that a reversal of roles is happening, but the presence of both the father and mother….is the best environment for the growth of a child…
SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT IN KENYA (AFRICA)
Positive and negative influence on BOYS AND GIRLS alike, 4 pillars – learning to know, to do live and to be) Church and State assist. Parents have abdicated their role as first teachers…Schools are teaching one pillar: to know and not to do.
- It has become a game of Winners and Losers (Elimination of failure in life) Grades matter. As only no Bs…Pressure to Excel no matter what it costs, Obsession with success (PARENTS colluding with …Teachers…Children themselves)…Buy grades, fake grades, bribe their way, recent shake-up by CS Matiang’i revealed that all is not well. Prostitute Syndrome, I will do anything for my child to pass.
- Religious capitalism. Miracles …Force God to enable them to pass. If they pass, they call you again…if they don’t pass…they will call another ‘man of God. Burden children with high (unachievable) expectations.
- EDUCATION is of the BRAINS (MIND) = for EXAMS…not holistic. As a result, GENERATION that is bored…tired… Deprived of sleep…work till late…STRESSED…CANT COPE WITH FAILURE…LESS TOLERANT. Breeding ground for addictive behavior. Preparing children for the Imaginary world and not the real world> success in Exams not translate into SUCCESS in life.
- HOLISTIC EDUCATION, for life…. EDUCATION OF THE HEART…hard work. Yes…but also VIRTUES of patience, of character, of Honesty, of Discipline of Merit… sports, music, drama, clubs etc. Room for improvement. In TASSIA school in Nairobi: Award of Prizes of Excellence for the best performance but there was one Most Improved Student (Positive reinforcement). There is room for me to do better or to improve
REMEDIES: PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
HOLY FAMILY OF NAZARETH AS MODEL OF ALL FAMILIES
Fear of God, hard work, obedience (Ecclesiasticus 2& 3)…Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (Build on a Rock: Mt 7/21, Ps 127…unless the Lord builds a house…).Obedience to parents…Strict on schedules:
Getting a child to do homework or to pray, to remove him from TV cartoons is a daily battle. Unpopular at times…. Parent is like a teacher (Both popular and unpopular at times till they have been transformed and will thank you later.
POPULARISE GOD’S PLAN…MARRIAGE AS A SACRAMENT
…Marriage is a sacrament (Genesis). Make marriage attractive (parish level) market it again by the married couples themselves. Make marriage affordable. These days wedding arrangements are expensive.
Pope Francis in one of his sermons, there is no perfect father…no perfect mother…we do not have perfect parents…we don’t marry a perfect person…nor do we have perfect children (no perfect daughter or perfect son) Love coexists with imperfections. That is why St. Paul 1 Cor 13 says Love is patient is willing to trust and forgive.
Responsible parenthood, also means leaving them on their own at times, to learn to be self-reliant and creative…have them come back and report,…sustain their efforts….How did I grow up to be the kind of person I am…parents never lectured (talked less) they LIVED with is…imitation CREATED TRUST….made clear what they liked us to do…clear what they liked us to avoid. At times unpopular…in season and out of season
Instill virtues/ VALUES LEAD BY EXAMPLE…
Servant leadership, not authoritarian mother/father…example of what you want the boys and girls to be. Pope St. John Paul II wrote about his father: “Sometimes I would wake up during the night and find my father on his knees, just as I would always see him kneeling in the parish church.
We never spoke about a vocation to the priesthood, but HIS EXAMPLE was in a way my first seminary, a kind of domestic seminary”. What do the children associate you with, screaming at the wife, their mother or at them? Watching EPL matches? Spanking them? CULTIVATING TRUST…many marriages are breaking up, no trust. Cardinal virtues come in handy: Cardinal here means they are pillars.
We are not born with them but we cultivate them as we grow up:
CARDINAL VIRTUES (CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH .NN. 1805 – 1809)
PRUDENCE (Be wise and cautious. be wise and not otherwise – practical wisdom knowing good and how to achieve it.
JUSTICE…giving to God what belongs to God and to the neighbor what is his/her due (respect)
FORTITUDE=courage- firmness in temptation and crisis …defending a just cause. An unpopular position.
TEMPERANCE=.modesty/…moderation. Self-control …sobriety…balance avoiding overindulging in (pleasures…gossip…alcohol…bad habits) many things are legitimate but they can become traps for sin.
SERVANT LEADERSHIP = Instill discipline (Read: Mk 9/42 – 45; Ecclesiastes Chapters 2 and 3.) Good behavior through a good example, eating a meal together at least some days of the week. Setting rules around the family and not bend them… have interest in children’s progress at school …spending time talking to and playing with children. Pope Francis suggests the 3 simple words: PLEASE- THANK YOU and SORRY (The Joy of Love, no.133)
The writer is a lecturer at The Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA)
This article appears in the Basilican Magazine, Vol 1, issue 7, December 2017