The DailyMail and News.com illustrated some conclusions from a home study report published in The Australian where Professor Roger Wilkins findings are quite revealing and will make the do-gooders and lefties fly into the dramatics in over time.
What I'm interested in is not so much the technicalities of the report by Professor Wilkins, rather the response the report has bought through the media to the public. It is one thing to have published a report of some kind, the response is something quite different.
I recall the former Australian hockey team captain Ric Charlesworth when in politics years before coaching the Hockeyroos to Olympic Gold and his many years with the Kookaburras to so many international victories the Socceroos hid in the corner of the lolly shop.
Ric Charlesworth as an aspiring Member for Perth in the Federal Parliament made the point that it is not what you say, rather how it is reported that counts.
So too reports of any kind. And this report is already being commented by numerous agencies and it seems the lefties have joined the Socceroos.
Here are some of them as provided by the DailyMail
* Men are happier when their wives do not work
* The surprising report on Australian households showed that rising unemployment across the country has posed a risk to relationships
* Household incomes did not affect their happiness
Lets try and unpick these
My comments here are not related to the specific report written by Professor Roger Wilkins, rather after 38 years in Christian ministry, 17 of those as the Australian cricket team chaplain, 12 of them as an industrial chaplain (some concurrently) and a researcher for my daily column in this space now some 8 years.
To the first one - men are happier when their wives do not work (employed). I am part of this group, my wife and I married in 1977 and Delma served with the Christian Literature Crusade at Pennant Hills Sydney in their office and when the children came along we agreed, mum would be at home.
I preferred this, I was busy in Ministry and I for one, liked mum being home and Delma liked being home. As the years rolled on Delma became involved in many volunteer ministry roles as she does now. But the home in my view was filled with a special aroma of loveliness and welcome and children. A couple of years ago now we met a woman with three children who was a friend of our eldest daughter and who came to our place one Saturday when she was 13 years of age. That visit she said changed her life - we just went about our normal routine but for her it was a revelation of experience of a Christian home.
My wife Delma says that although this was our preferred choice, many women either want to work for their own self benefit, or for the extra disposable income, or to help pay the mortgage, and many professional women earn more than their husbands. All this is true. But what is a reality and what is the preferred option - are often very different.
To the second
This is overwhelming true. Unemployment is an evil. It affects everyone in the home and in all the various mixed relationships. This is why the Federal Government must have an emphasis - not primarily on social extremes – rather on bread and butter issues – employment, jobs, careers, education, training .... this is the role of Government for its citizenry.
If ideological policies are directed to kick big business in the teeth, who employ thousands and the many side industries to keep the show on the road, and likewise kick small business in the backside who employ the largest number of Australians – if your policies are geared in this direction the Government of the day has failed the test.
In my 38 years of Christian ministry this has been one of the great heartbreaks I have witnessed where unemployment has damaged the spirit of so many. One young man told me not that long ago, that as no-one wanted him! He had applied for numerous positions all to no avail and felt destitute in his spirit. Why go on living, I'm worthless. How tragic. The farm community has the same gripe as independent Member of Parliament Bob Katter keeps telling us with the number of farm suicides.
Men particularly need work, it is in their created enzymes to work and provide, men need fulfilment and accomplishment and satisfaction. I'm aware of the research on women in this area, but this article is focusing on men and the nation.
The amount of income / wealth / one has has very little to do with the level of happiness. I've heard all the modern trifles on this such as – money may not make you happy but it will make unhappiness a whole lot more accommodating. That's a poor excuse for the hopeless state of man's condition.
It's the lie of advertising, it's the lie of the excessive opulent life, it's the lie of unnecessary affluence.
Study after study after study illustrate that it is not a focus on money than makes one living a satisfied life, for the good book says the love of money is the root of all evil. Let me say here that balance is necessary and vital. Thousands upon thousands of missionaries today including us (in our case 38 years) have lived and continue to live by the generosity of others giving of their much resources.
But this in my view is the secret of happiness and certainly satisfaction. One of the things that changed my entire world view on missions giving was when it was explained that the utmost joy in the Lord I receive when I give with a spirit of excitement and pleasure - to the Lord's work – is the same experience of the heart others have when they give to me for our mission and family living.
This for me is the greatest of pleasures in the joy of the Lord. In my experience many very well off people who give and give of their resources to missions and the Lord's work likewise enjoy this kind of happiness. I commend it.
Whatever Professor Roger Wilkins said in his report, and interpreted by the media, these three things stated in this space are real and basic to well-being.
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