A recent News.com article stated there are right now, 743,000 families headed up by solo mothers in Australia which begs the question, are there 743,000 horrible men, or is there some other so obvious issue staring us in the face.
The article did not break down that figure, such as widows, or perhaps even mum's raising families while husband is working overseas for a season of high earnings. All we are told in this article is that there are 743,000 families headed up by solo mothers.
This infers that at some time during the relationship with each of these 743,000 families a man disappeared off the family scene.
We are not given any statistical analysis of sociological breakdowns of that 743,000 such as how many were divorces, defactos, never in a long term relationship, or even what the critics of the Australian welfare system refer to as Centrelink pregnancies. None of that information was provided.
Nor are we given more direct information as to why the men left the family arena in the first place. How many were due to intermittent separations such as a variety of fly-in fly-out work place demands, spousal physical abuse on behalf of the men, how many of the 743,000 are due to alcohol abuse, or even young women choosing a certain life style following in their mother's foot steps – again none of that information is given.
743,000 is a huge number
What we are aware of is that 743,000 is a huge number and its quite mind-boggling trying to get one's head around such a figure.
The first question to ask, has this been the norm in Australia's settlement history, and the answer to that is a resounding 'no'. The statistics don't add up, at no time since 1788 has such a high percentage of of 'coupledom' (as it were) broken down unequivocally. This raises another set of questions.
Why has this, our era of Australia's history, resulted in so many, 743,000 solo mothers raising families. If one doesn't ask this question, then the entire exercise is politically steered in one direction with the social engineers winning hands-down with scarce national resources getting redirected.
Again we are not told how many of the 743,000 run their own businesses (shop front or from home), how many juggle jobs (full time or part time), or how many have friends and parents help with the child minding, nor do we know how many are so close to destitution that they live in a cycle of poverty.
But all of these issues hide the critical factor, the question on everyone's lips, are there 743,000 men 'bastards' out there who 'up and left' their spouse (partner) or is there something else happening.
The question put is - are there 743,000 women out there who are, as the ditti says, 'sugar and spice and all things nice' and so the men are, well, there are no words to quite describe their woeful behaviour.
Susan Patton has a very different take on all this. Women to woman – Susan Patton squares up to today's young women and speaks straight to them. Susan Patton is a Princeton graduate and mother of two Ivy League sons, and came to fame when she made the point that a statistical analysis is that young women in Princeton in their under-graduate years have a plethora of men surrounding them, and such a statistical opportunity in their favour in finding a husband will simply not present itself in the future.
Then she took another leap which gained equal notoriety cited in my article The happiest husbands and says the emphasis on women's needs are everywhere – advertising, merchandise, cosmetics, cars, clothing or lack of it, fulfillment, career, education, sexual appetite, holidays, sun tans, well-being, psychology, political correctness, best seats, right of way (supermarkets, lining up, banking, anything really).
Susan Patton says that it's time the pendulum was stopped and given a nudge in the other direction. She has some very practical suggestions: Welcome your husband home with a smile asking him not to fix something, but to genuinely express your appreciation (that he comes home at all – as it were).
The advice covers a wide range of practical expressions where a wife does little things to illustrate not only that he is loved and care for, but truly appreciated as the male of the home. This is not a silly dismissal of the feminist cause, rather Patton says, the wife should be looking good for her husband, this shows him respect.
Grand-ma's have lots of wisdom
Young girls grow up with role models all around them, not least grand-ma's who seem awfully old yet held with esteem by the family and somehow stately - indeed grand-ma's traditionally rule the roost (as it were). It is very difficult to say "no" to a grand-ma.
Grand-ma's wealth of wisdom comes from their mother's and their grand-mothers generations back and they will attest to the plain common sense of Susan Patton. Look after your husband (male spouse). Grand-ma's will be the first to tell you there are not 743,000 hopeless men out there who simply 'packed up' and 'walked away' from their families.
Grand-mas will tell any one who cares to listen that a women's task in the family home is never done and it is she who determines the household's heart and soul. This is Bible 101. As Steve Martin says in the movie Parenthood, men have no choices. They are geared from childhood that a man's role is to work. The philosophical point is that men want to come home to a soft place, even with the wife working: surrounded by love and care, not Mrs Temperament or Mrs Doesn't Care.
Yes, marriage is a double act. Men likewise loving their wives. This is no cop-out for men.
This story was told to us first hand by the young woman in question. Her male friend said he would never consider going on one of those home renovation television shows with her as in his view (which she concurred) - she would storm off half way through never to return simply because something wasn't quite right or she took offence at something insignificant, or some other almost inconsequential thing occurred.
Just perhaps, just possibly, little wonder there are 743,000 solo mothers out there! Susan Patton said it. Time for the pendulum to swing back.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html