Fr. Joe Mariadhas
LAST year I was invited by a community to celebrate ‘Mothers Day’ in their church and to exhort the mothers present there at the function. It was an opportunity for me to talk to our mothers and their selfless and dedicated family life, standing as a strong pillar of support and strength to their husbands and children and knitting the fabric of family life together in God’s love. You will all agree with me that family is a place where there is love, care, concern, support and all that we can think and talk about human life. We all come from families and without mothers we would not be in this universe. Sometimes we are grateful to them while most of the times we take them for granted. I salute all women today for being a woman because God loves you and has placed you to be a mother, sister and wife here on this earth at this point of time. In the exhortation I narrated a story of how a wife began to correct her erring husband with love and understand which brought change in her husband’s life and the restoration of family happiness. I talked to them about how mothers are vital in the growth and development of personality of children and others in the family. After the talk many of them came and congratulated me for the nice talk I delivered and I was happy to meet them. One of them requested if I could give her some time to meet her and I said ‘yes’. She came and shared about her family life and said that she was angry with her husband for telling lies three years before and from then she was not so free with her husband and began to react in many ways. But after hearing my talk, she has decided to forgive her husband and want to love and care for her husband and children from that day as a changed person without any hurt or anger. She thanked me for the beautiful sharing on family life. I prayed with her and wished all God’s blessings and thanked God for this inspiration to change one person’s life.
The theme for women’s day this year is “Inspiring Change”. I consider that all of us can bring a change in our own life and also in the life of others when we sit and introspect or reflect on our lives, way of living and our activities. Bringing greetings and wishes on this auspicious day, I consider this a privilege to share a few thoughts to our mothers, sisters and wives who are there for us all the time, caring and supporting us in all situations of life. Most of our women today have entered into the arena of life in all areas possible leading the society forward. We do find them in the market places selling vegetables, as sales girls in shops, doing business, working in private and Govt. enterprises and also employed in many sectors. It makes us proud that our women are doing well as officers in many departments and have made their hallmarks as tough, dedicated and sincere leaders. It is all because of the empowerment they have received from the society. Many of our young women are into diverse enterprises and it makes us feel good that our women do well in all their undertakings with commitment. It was our pride when our ‘Mahila Police’ were posted at Delhi for the common wealth games and their smartness was appreciated by all who watched them doing their duties. I can add on many more areas to show that our women today are empowered to undertake any task and they are capable of leading our society too.
I do understand and realise that this article may not be read by many of our women who are in rural areas and wish all those who read it please share this message to them that they are wonderful creation of God and we appreciate them for their silent and unassuming life sacrifice they make till the end of their lives as mothers, sisters and wives. The roles of our women in families have not changed much in today’s society. While girls and women have more opportunities in home based employment, the traditional roles of women are still quite evident. They are still the caring provider and nurturer of young infants and children, the comforter for the crying child and the feminine presence of the household. When we travel into the rural areas of our state we can always find women in the fields cleaning, carrying water and other activities that they have defined for themselves as if it is their duty. For many aspiring young girls and women, the moment they get married they get settled in life, this seems to be the end, accomplishment or achievement for them and their dreams and aspirations vanish. Most educated women once they are married they find themselves in family life that they do not come out to take up leadership roles in society. But it is possible for you dear women that you can be a good housewife, mother, sister and whatever you are called to be in the family life, you can make a change and also lead others to change. The roles you play are vital in the growth of the society as you are the backbone of the society. Our society is changing a lot in terms of acceptance of the many roles of our women as professionals, as bread-earners in families and as independent thinking individuals today.
What you can do or dream you can begin it because you are the right person at this point of time to inspire others. We live in a society where traditions are respected and also expected to be followed from each person. Looking at the reality of our state the time has come for women to assume new responsibilities as you are becoming more and more forward in the development of society. In any home where women are working your income is important to the well-being of the homes and the living standards. When we speak of a traditional role of a woman being responsible for the efficient running of her home, it is something we need to be aware of as an additional expectation made from her because of her employment. The traditional role of a man has been the one of earning the money for the running of the home. This has changed to a great extent. Working women contribute to the expenses of running their homes as well. The responsibility of bringing up children, taking care of homes, doing small business and going to the fields to work is also changing. In some cases you have become the bread winner of the family too. There is changing role in the family system and women in families are becoming decision makers and also run families with proper love and care. With number of people increasing into different types of addiction, women have to lead the families and some of you are doing it already and I appreciate you for this. When we look at these women, we will discover, how they overcame challenges and the lessons they learned to become successful in their fields. We need to break the boundaries and set new examples of valour and strength. We have to become an inspiration to the present generation and role models for tomorrow’s youth.
On this ‘Women’s day 2014’ it is fitting that our women begin to reflect, introspect their roles in different capacities, contributions as individuals in the families and society and the achievements in life. The leadership roles that you are called to take up, the responsibilities that are attached to you as women and your commitment to do them will prove that you can in this changing society. It is in your power to do so. As the theme of this year “Inspiring Change” may make all of you to inspire the fire within you to bring change not only in oneself but in the society as well. We want to hear success stories, so become inspired dear women and enjoy the blessings of Almighty God as women. Your success will be our inspiration for tomorrow.
The writer is a Counsellor and Assistant Professor at St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama