Title: African Family Today
Publisher: Paulines Publications Africa
Editors: Giuseppe Caramazza and Beatrice Churu
Price: KSHs. 400 (or $4)
Number of pages: 159
Year of publication: 2015
Publisher: Paulines Publications Africa
Paulines Publications Africa
P.O. Box 49026
00100 Nairobi GPO Kenya
Reviewer: Francis Njuguna
researcher of the article -- The
Influence of the House-helps On Child Behaviour -- in the just published
book African Family Today has used
both the Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and Facebook as avenues to pursue
his research work on the child behavior issue among working couples in the
says one of the reasons behind his decision of choosing the two avenues is
because they are quite influential in the life in the Catholic Church and the
social media world, respectively.
SCCs are currently catching up as a new way of evangelization in the Catholic
faith, while the Facebook is notably catching up fast in the social media
Jeketule Jacob Soko, a Malawian Catholic layman, in his article -- The Influence of House-helps on Child
Behaviour says that he used both the Small Christian Communities (SCCs) and
Facebook to collect his data (page 69).
choice of Facebook was ideal because this is a forum used by most families to
share on social and spiritual issues, explains Soko.
further says that the SCCs were also good because they acted as a focus group
where members shared their experiences as working couples.
number of respondents was 25 families in the SCCs and seven respondents from Facebook
and one respondent chose to write his responses through email”, the researcher
has explained (page 69).
to Soko, the 25 families comprised of husband and wife except four who did not
have their partners during the focus group discussion.
the actual number represented by the SCCs was 46,” the researcher explained.
research study involved couples, and house-helps in Kenya, Canada, South
Africa, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
the research the participants were asked the following questions, namely:
what extent and in what ways does the situation in the hypothetical case
(children being left without care as a result of “being busy” at work) happen
in your society? Would you leave your job in order to raise a child? How do
working couples raise their children in the community where you live? Who
should impart values to children? And what
can be done about the situation? (page 71).
has explained that the questions were based on the hypothetical story that
appeared in Week Three of the 2015 Kenya Lenten Campaign (Kenya Conference of
Catholic Bishops, 2015).
those in SCCs, the full version was read while for those on Facebook, the story
was summarized,” says the researcher (pages 70-71).
a summary form, the research says there is an assumption that working couples
leave home early and come home late. They spend very minimal time with their
children; hence their children are left in the hands of caretakers according to
the researcher (page 71).
conclusion, the researcher has made several recommendations as a remedy to address
the issue. Of these, he strongly feels that two -- the need for parents to be
available for their children and the need to create a conductive environment
for holistic child development by strengthening the working relationships
between couples and their house-helps -- are crucial.
“This is in view of the fact that employing house-helps
is a common way of raising children by working parents,” the study has
recommendations on the issue include: The need to train house-helps in working
families on various life skills relating to children; create awareness on child
protection strategies; to discuss and create consciousness on values related to
child upbringing and to be conscientized on work--family balance; to enhance
house-help motivation and working relations; the need for those that interact
with children in the house to be exemplary; and equally the need to put into
practice the saying that “a family that prays together, stays together” (page 75).
the Catholic Church’s contribution on solving the issue, the study urges the church
to pay attention to the “raising of children” by working couples.
Catholic Church programs focus mostly on youth and couples through Marriage Encounter while there is little or no
attention on ‘raising children’ by working
couples,” the research underlines (page 76).
the recommendations focus on the working couples and the ‘house- helps’, the
researcher has emphasized, adding that, “In particular on those that take
care of children while the couples are away.”
conclusion, the study strongly believes that the Catholic Church can influence,
through its structures, policy makers on work policies by employers to enable
couples to have ample time for their children.
book -- African Family Today -- has
been published to coincide with the Synod of Bishops on the family that opened
in Rome on 4 October and ends on 25 October The over 300 bishops and delegates in
attendance are deliberating on the theme: “The
Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and Contemporary World.”