Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
June 18, 2001
Advocate details demands on families
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — No job is more demanding and fraught with anxiety than being a parent, says the head of the Vanier Institute of the Family.
But there is also no job that carries the same opportunity and potential reward than parenthood, Dr. Robert Glossop told the annual meeting of Catholic Social Services, June 8.
Speaking before more than 300 people at the Hotel Macdonald, Glossop described how family life has changed, what challenges it faces today and how parenting has become more difficult.
Parenthood has come to mean multi-tasking, ranging from being nutritionist, recreation director, television monitor, short-order cook, and sex educator among others, he said.
"And parents are supposed to do all this while simultaneously being breadwinners, sons and daughters to the parents, who parented us in years gone and finally, spouses and lovers - if anyone still has the time, inclination or energy left over," he added.
Glossop, a family advocate and researcher, pinpointed some factors affecting the present condition of family life.
"The economy is largely blind to the fact that the most important reason that people show up at the office or factory every morning is precisely because they want to provide not just for themselves but for their families," he stated.
Glossop said earning a decent living and raising a family are the two dimensions of our lives that we strive to integrate.
Parents are anxious, depressed, stressed and crunched for time because they find it almost impossible to balance and coordinate the often-competing demands of home and workplace, he said.
"We live with incredibly frantic schedules and we live on the leftovers of human energy and commitment when we return home at the end of the day to what we say is the most important project in our lives."
He emphasized that in Canada, "we have effectively re-privatized the costs of children by abandoning their parents with the elimination of universal family allowances and by factoring their children out of the tax system."
Yet, if the future really matters to us, we must foster the development of children and families, he said.
Towards the end of his speech, he commended Msgr. Bill Irwin's vision and mission for the community.
"Forty years ago (when I was a boy), the need to help others was not as evident to everyone as it was to Father Bill Irwin and those with whom he opened the doors of Catholic Social Services.
"I leave Edmonton today grateful for this shining example of what hope (along with a lot of faith, hard work and a few dollars) can accomplish."
CSS, Canada's largest multi-function social service agency, has provided services for 40 years to people of all faiths and cultures in central and northeast Alberta. In 2001, its 1,000 staff and 1,725 volunteers expect to help more than 60,000 Albertans.
At the meeting, Dr. Kay Feehan was given the Monsignor Irwin Award of Excellence while Lynn Axelson, Lloyd Baumgarten, Jerry Manegre, Norma Jean Ruptash and Sonia Teixeira were recognized as outstanding volunteers.
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