The happiest children are those who have happy parents; neither the rich or super-smart ones, but happy ones. That is why the most important assignment for a man is to be happy.
Читай українською: Хто він – сучасний чоловік: декілька дискусійних думок
Such conclusions were drawn after a common discussion, that took place on September 25th, by Bishop Venedykt Aleksiychuk, the Proto-Syncellus of the Lviv Archdiosese of the UGCC, Nataliya Kuba, the Director of the Department for Studies and the Development of SoftServe, and Mykhaylo Salo, the business consultant in financial affairs.
What Defines the Special Role of Man?
Bishop Venedykt: In fact, the problem of man is defined by a much larger context. Sometimes, we live as if we have been living for eternity, for few hundred years, at least, but life is the one and only, unique. Sometimes, it looks like we do not realize the uniqueness of our tasks.
When we talk about the vocation of man, it is necessary to talk about the vocations of everyone. It seems, somebody does something more special, but I do not. This is the general problem: the problem of vocation, everyone is called for something special. I think that there is a lot of uniqueness in the similarity between a man and a woman.
Mychaylo Salo: First of all, the role of man is to be happy. We are looking for our vocation in this life. The happiest children are those who have happy parents; neither the rich nor super-smart ones, but happy ones. That is why the most important assignment for man is to be happy. Although, it is important to define that role of man which we are talking about: the roles of a man as a father, as a husband, as a company employee, as a group leader, as a role model. We sort people according to their gender, as men and women. It is easy to see who is a woman and who is a man, but it is difficult to see the interior side of a person, their differences aside from the gender. First of all, we live in a patriarchal society. Therefore, it is necessary to raise the topic of the division between men and women.
Nataliya Kuba: These days, I had to deal with the problem of burning-out, the state when it becomes more and more difficult to communicate, self-identity is lost, when we do not understand who we are anymore, what we want to live for, whether we allow ourselves to become joyous, and what we fill our lives with. I was raised up as a personality with rules of life that are based on morality and ethics. Of course, there is the difference among the men and women; nevertheless, everyone is a responsible participant of society.
The Point of Church regarding the Problem of Man’s Superior Status over Woman in the Bible?
Bishop Venedykt: We have to understand that we are the result of a certain culture. Maybe, somebody will look at us as cavemen in two hundred years. In fact, I, as a representative of the Church, cannot change anything in the Revelation of the Church by changing what has been written in the Bible. Nevertheless, I should say that I am not sure whether any other religion so definitely enhances the uniqueness of the woman as it is done in the Christian depiction of the Virgin Mary who gets pregnant and gives birth to the Child.
Mychaylo Salo: Regarding the superiority of the man, that man is above woman, when they stand side by side, it is just the measurement of their height and that’s all.
The Division of Roles and the Full Value of Woman and Man.
Mychaylo Salo: There are different men and women. I know many women who earn more and men who deal with the kitchen much better. Such people exist; nevertheless, everyone thinks according to stereotypes. Indeed, I would like my wife to start working. Still, I earn much more and, first of all, we have to take care of our children.
The role of a man is to be a friend for his wife and his children. Being a father and being a husband are two different roles. Fatherhood is given, while a husband is chosen. The same is with the role of a mother. She is given to her children and chosen by her husband. Each of them is chosen to become one, not a bigger or lesser part. We do not have any obligation to cook or to earn money. These are the roles we choose.
Nataliya Kuba: This is so called partnership. I deliver speeches at conferences while my husband cleans. It is I who cooks because I like it, as it is a certain type of creativity for me. There was a time in my childhood when my mother devoted her life to housekeeping, while my father worked. Everything depends on how we agree upon it. Sometimes, people hide behind the stereotypes to avoid an active role in the family. This is the misuse of stereotypes. What is most important is active parenthood, when a father and a son play football after the father’s work.
Mother and Father: the Full Value and Completeness of Family Life
Mychaylo Salo: I am not sure why children need to have a father and a mother. Nevertheless, it is so natural that they cannot be born without a father nor a mother. Thinking about orphans and half-orphans is most painful for me. I do not know what I can say to children who do not have either a father or a mother. In the 90’s, the economic situation was very difficult. I had been the same child as everyone else. I wanted my father to go abroad to earn money so much. While we were sharing the same pants and frying potatoes, he was staying at home. Nevertheless, now I am grateful to my father that he did not go abroad for the sake of money. May God bless you with going abroad to earn a living, but do not leave your children for the sake of money. It is impossible to save the family at a distance! We have freedom. God has given freedom to a person. Our assignment is to be happy. We have the freedom to create happiness for ourselves and not to look for it somewhere else.
Nataliya Kuba: The father is an example for his girl too, not only for a boy. A lot depends on who takes on the role of care-taker. The man and woman are a harmonious unity and the child feels that.
Bishop Venedykt: The child’s formation starts in the womb of the mother. Yet, our formation never ends; we all influence one another. If there is no father, there are other examples such as grandfathers and other men. It is important to accept the reality, yet to take other men as an example, to look for a man’s environment and to build relationships in such a way.
A person always has freedom. When the child is growing up, they are very rebellious. And, if there is no father, maybe this is the obligation of the mother, to care about the good example of a man for her child.
Men and Women as Leaders: How Is This in a Healthy Family?
Mychaylo Salo: The role of a leader is not granted, it should be taken. Take and do something in a better way and you will become the leader. The task of the woman is not to hide behind comfortable roles, and the man’s task is to not restrict himself and to give the freedom of realization to his wife.
Bishop Venedykt: The men-saints lost the role of a true man-warrior, they became kinder while women-saints became braver. The beginning and end of our life is to fulfil God’s will. God has created everyone as a personality, with their own story for everyone, and He knows what is better for us. I will cite the St. Augustine: “When God is at first place, everything is at its place.”
Sometimes, the man makes decision with intellect, and, sometimes, a woman with her heart. Everything depends on the situation. I do not believe in leaders; I am afraid of leaders. When the husband thinks globally and the wife sees the details, it is complementarity. Both of them have to find out which decision is right, and who will be first to let it be known is not important.
By Tetyana Trachuk
Acc. To “Contemporary Man, Who Is He?” discussion materials
Photo: Rev. Rostyslav Pendyuk