Care Taking is Providing
Men are programmed to be providers. This is pretty non-controversial stuff, though some would argue if the basis is more biological or social.
But what does it mean to be a provider? If generational stereotypes are to be believed, then the 20th century male provider was expected to provide a (1) paycheck, (2) manual labor and mechanical prowess inappropriate for a woman, (3) discipline.
Fortunately, that concept is eroding in first world countries as supply increases and the expendability of males is less relevant. With less pressure on survival, we’re free to evolve socially. Thus, fathers and husbands are being expected to be more than encyclopedic paychecks that can fix things.
This isn’t a change in the male paradigm, its evolution. Much needed development and growth that will serve our families and society well. Many chores and tasks typically classified as “care taking” equally fall under the umbrella of “providing.” In fact, you could actually describe any chore with using the verb “provide.”
Cooking – PROVIDING meals for your family.
Cleaning – PROVIDING a sanitary environment to promote health.
Laundry – PROVIDING clean clothes and linens for use.
If you can buff your car, you can wash dishes. If you can figure out how to work the latest smart phone in your pocket, than you can figure out how to operate a washing machine. This stuff isn’t rocket science. If anything, it’s a matter of motivation.
Can’t find the motivation? Well, if you consider yourself someone that loves your family, respects your partner, and is a provider then you need to re-evaluate what those concepts mean to you.
Is leaving all those other things to your partner to handle while you put your feet up an example of love or respect? What does it teach your children about balance and support in a relationship? What does it say to your partner about the value you place on togetherness with them? There’s also a not so subtle message there to your partner that “I care more about myself than our relationship so I’m fine with letting you do everything while I do whatever I want – without you.” If that is your idea of love, respect, or providing; you should seek professional help.
The word provide comes from the latin providere “foresee, attend to.” Want to become a better provider for your family? Then don’t settle for the paycheck cliché. Foresee your family’s needs, and attend to them. Kid needs help with homework? Step in. Trash can is full? Take it out. Meal time? Cook something. Floor is dirty? Sweep and mop. Car needs an oil change? Schedule it, do it, or even better – make it a teachable moment with your child. Most importantly, do it with a decent attitude.
By becoming real providers, we can help ensure the many needs of our family are met while fostering an environment of love and respect that ensures our family knows we love and respect them, and modeling for our children what love and respect really are.