Tulsa World, June 15th 2002, page A16:
|June 15, 2002
Identical twins Kayode and Olumide Taiwo bring a cross-cultural viewpoint to the role of fathers.
Born 30 years ago in New York and raised in Nigeria, the St. Francis Hospital pharmacists’ latest book is about the importance of fathers leaving a legacy for their children.
‘When husbands and wife get out of their God-given roles, there is disorder and other problems.
Twins’ book illustrates the importance of dad’s role in the family
The book is written from the perspective of a son appealing to his father for input into his life, said the Broken Arrow twins, who are called Kay and Olu.
Many of America’s social problems — divorce, children who lack a sense of identity, gangs and drugs — spring from a failure of fathers to assume their God-given place in the family, said the twins, who spent four years working with inner-city families in New York City while i n pharmacy school.
Story by Bill Sherman
World Religion Writer
The father gives children a sense of who they are, he said.
Children raised without a good father figure are confused about their identity and lack a sense of self worth, he said. The breakdown of the society in the inner cities of America is a symptom of the failure of fathers to do their jobs, he said. The young men join gangs to find a sense of identity, of belonging, and the young women get involved with men, often older men, trying to fill the void created by missing fathers. When Kay and Olu moved to New York after attending grade school and high school in Nigeria, they were shocked by the prevalence of divorce and the breakdown of the family. The divorce rate in Nigeria is a fraction of what it is the United States, Kay said, although it is increasing as the nation becomes more westernized. The twins also found a stark contrast between the role of husbands in America and in Nigeria, where fathers are the undisputed heads of most families.
Both Kay and Olu said they believe the feminist movement in the United States, while doing some good, has hurt families by stripping from men their role as the heads of the household. “Men are afraid to assert themselves, afraid to be men,” Kay said. Women also are hurt by that, he said, because they need their husbands to act like men. When wives challenge the authority of their husbands, and don’t see them as capable heads of the home, Olu said, men withdraw and find their purpose and fulfillment outside of the family, he said, leaving a void in the lives of children who need their guidance and direction. “Women don’t like the monster they’ve created,” Olu said. “And we talk to men in their late 40s who look back and don’t like the path they’ve taken.” On the other hand, the feminist movement did some good, he said, by making men aware of the value and importance of women, correcting the misconception in some that women were inferior, and pointing out the inequity of men being paid more than women for the same work.
The essence of the biblical teaching, Kay said, is that in Christ there is no male or female, all are equal, but that God has established order in the family with different roles for husbands and wives. It is controversial to say so, even in many churches, he said, but the biblical role of the husband is head of the household. “When husband and wife get out of their God-given roles, there is disorder and other problems,” Olu said. He said the biblical model for husbands and wives is Christ and the church. Christ is head of the church, but never forces anyone to obey him. He loves them unconditionally, and they freely submit their lives to him in response to that love,” he said. If a husband gives himself to his wife fully, and loves her unconditionally, biblical submission will be her natural response, he said. Husbands who demand submission create resentment in their wives, he said. The Bible also instructs husbands and wives to submit themselves to each other, he said. Another contrast between American fathers and African fathers is how they view their role as mentors, Kay said. Fathers should be generalized mentors for their children, laying a foundation upon which future mentors can build, he said.
Children whose fathers have not mentored them in practical, intellectual and spiritual areas go into the world with deficits which must be filled before they can go on to maturity. The mentoring principle goes beyond the family, he said. Societies in Africa, Asia and South America tend to be collectivistic; American society is individualistic, he said. In an African village, everyone is watching out for the welfare of everyone else. For example, it would not be abnormal in Nigeria, Olu said, for someone to say to his neighbor or friend, “Have you read your Bible today?” “In America, that would be considered intrusive.” In Africa, Christian leaders take their role as mentors seriously, and are always looking for ways to invest themselves in the lives of young people. The Taiwos have self-published two books, “The Progenitor Principle, Why you must leave a legacy behind,” and “Uncovering the Hidden Stranger Within,” available from WinePress Publishing, Enumclaw, Washington. They speak… at churches in the United States and in Africa as Vision for Life Ministries Inc. on issues of identity, vision and purpose, and the worth of the individual.
Bill Sherman, World religion writer,