Sunday, July 14, 2013

My article with subject of "Finding match for my Son" has been published in famous fashion magazine "ASIANA Wedding" (Vol 2, Issue 7, 2013). I hope you will have enjoyable and exciting read.

Perfect Match for the Only Son

By: Prof. Ayesha Kashif

In societies like ours, right from the birth of a baby girl; parents sleeve up to find the perfect match, the girl is always recipient of well wishes related to her life partner. This clearly presents insecurity in our society about girls. It is true that we live in a male dominated society; where parents of girl stay worried about making her match. Right from girl's teen age her family starts pursuit of finding the best match. Much to the ease for parents, demographics have changed a little, now young girls and boys find match of their choice during university years and become couples.

Still we cannot deny that in society like ours, finding match for your princes is difficult. Parents of the girl think that finding match of a boy is easier. But believe me grass is always greener at the other side. Let me narrate the situation of other side.

Imagine a mid aged woman who parented up a boy, and the boy who took all the major decisions of his life with consent of his “Mama”. This boy outshined in higher education, brought good name to his family. To whom she taught highest of moral values, he respect the other gender as gentleman. If he ever disorient from his teachings, he reports to his mother and pays penalty obediently. For all his success, he acknowledges his mother and her teachings. This is a character that can only be found in imaginary films. Despite punishments & strictness inflicted by his mom; this 26 years old man never lied or cheated to his Mama. This filmy boy has turned in to a young man. His friendly personality topped with his progress in early years of career, where he is known for his confidence and professionalism, society tag him as "eligible bachelor".

Many of us might think finding match for such boy is one of easiest thing to do. But the issue is that, due to value system of his mother, he has successfully failed to inspire any of his female course mates or colleagues. He is master in developing business relations, but has failed to date even one woman in his life. In modern society, it is expected out of youth to select and inspire their partners on their own; but values that he carry conflicts with these expectations and he will continuously fail to select his life partner on his own. At this stage this does not matter, if his mother allows him to find life partner. He has not developed this ability during course of time.

In modern social circle, his colleagues and friends tag him as social failure for his unwillingness towards finding his life partner. On other hand his mother is now worrying to find the best match for her only son. Especially after overhearing the stories of every day marriage failure in contemporary world, all the media hype about suffering of mothers after they get their sons married. She wants to find a girl who not only carry high moral standards, but she shall also be able to carry herself as per expectations of the modern society. On top of it, the mother carries a fear of losing her son's obedience in hands of the young women.
Apart from provided fears & expectations of his mother, boy's extended family also exert pressure to include few areas of consideration i.e. religious beliefs, family origin of the girl, her family structure, sects and even 
the language style.

In pursuit of finding a fairy for her obedient and loving son, she is puzzled and trying to touch every possible source of information about match making. All of her friends, family members are engaged in spotting the right match for this “Mama’s Boy”. List of challenges does not end here, instead of just listening to his Mom’s command, boy subtly has given a wishful characteristics of girl too; and he conveniently added “MOM!, rest whatever you deem appropriate”.

Here starts the interesting part; if mother finds a beautiful girl, she would lack on moral values. With other characteristics fit; a girl might be too ambitious in her career. Few girls within family fall at other side of political wall that too are not an option. She gets proposals from very high profile families, where she feels insecure due to immense social and financial differences. When she spots the right match, extended family pressurize to let the option go due to socially undesired characteristics in girl’s parents. In some cases girl is too modern, and in some she is too ancient. In some cases girl’s parents are rigid religious believers and in others they are too lenient. To agony of this mother, majority of her son’s course mates are getting married; and she feels threatened that society might go out of girls.

She fears to expedite the process, knowing several examples where girls spoiled life of the boy. She feels worried, that her only son might get too disoriented if she would find the wrong match. She knows, her son will always respect the other gender and his wife might unduly capitalize on his civility. This mother in her youth selected soul mates for her brothers, and she was not happy with choices she made in past.
All her life she lived according to rules of others i.e. her father, brothers & husband. She wants to enjoy youthful days of her Son. Where she can see her son living by her teachings. She has aged and often suffers through depression.

She is extremely worried, currently sitting on a couch, thinking that how come it is perceived, that getting your son married is an easy task. From where can I find my daughter in law? A girl who can keep my only son happy…. While thinking this she prays for her son. “God! Bless my son with good luck”. “Allah mere betay kay naseeb achay karay”

This flip side of match making can only be understood by Mothers, whose most precious asset is their only son. So it be your daughter or son. Match making is no easy job.

Family System / Joint vs. Nuclear Family System

My article with subject of "Family System" has been published in famous fashion magazine "ASIANA Wedding" (Vol 2, Issue 6, 2012). I hope you will have enjoyable read and will get to learn something new.

Joint vs. Nuclear Family System
By: Prof. Ayesha Kashif

After my appearance in Pakistan’s leading talk show on subject of pros and cons of different family system. I decided to develop understanding of masses on this important subject. Concern of living in any type of family is not that simple. As individuals there are several forces which motivate us to live in certain order.
This article does not advocate any type of family system, but here attempt is to highlight key family systems, reasons why they exist and what are forces on families that determine their decision in a particular family system. Eventually, after reading this article one will be able to decide, which mode of family living system is likely to bring more comfort and happiness.
In contemporary world, there exists many family systems, but we will be discussing two most popular family types in Pakistan. That is:

  • Nuclear Family System
  • Joint Family System

Nuclear family is said to be a family system, where a couple (married legally & religiously) is living with their children (adopted or born).

Joint family system is also known as “Extended Family” or “Extended Family System”. In this discussion “joint family system”, will be used for family that is living with two generations, i.e. Grand Parents living with their complete family tree till Grand Children, or Great-Grand Parents living with their whole layer of family tree till Great-Grand Children.

Let us discuss causes as how and why humans decide to live in any type of family system. For ages, humans have been living in societies due to numerous factors, including security, distribution of work and luxury of socializing. 

Being social animal, humans tend live with each others. But humans also like to maintain limits of privacy too. And this need of privacy increases when society attains maturity. It can easily be observed that educated class of any society demands their privacy to be maintained. When this requirement arises, humans tend to make their smaller communes.

Given, nature of humans to be free, it will not be wrong to state that higher the financial strength of society, greater is probability of families to live in nuclear, single-parent or some other isolated setup. That family arrangement will become popular in this case, which allows higher freedom. It might be pointed out that financial strength might not be the only reason of preferred family setup. Yes, there are other factors determining family setup too.

Think for a moment, when in public, why do we act in certain way? We change our body language, tone of voice, dress and all gesture according to that environment. Same way, humans tend to live their life style as per society’s expectation. If it is norm in society for children to establish their separate units after marriage, here is higher probability to have “Nuclear Family System” as popular arrangement in society. And new couples are highly likely to follow the norm.

But determinants do not end here, other than financial factor and norm of society, another key determinant is norm of family. If family tradition is very strong and leave very high influence on its members; then family members are highly likely to stay in family influenced mode of living. This is usually evident in extended family systems, where members are encouraged and expected to show their loyalty to their extended family. i.e. In Pakistan’s tribal areas, where family members have very strong ties. Huge families along with their complete family tree are likely to live in their big houses. 

All three factors complement one another, in case of extended family example. Having one locus of financial control in hands of family head is very important. This can be done either when whole family is dependent on one single source of income, i.e. same agricultural land or some other form of business. Or it can be done through very strong family ties where every member is expected to present portion of their income to head of family; in turn, head of family will manage and distribute finances. This will usually be observed where family association might provide benefits like, respect in society, political influence or might be other power needs that get satisfied by staying with main family name.

Summing up, any mode of family system is acceptable in different circumstances, but while considering any mode of family system, all three key determinants needs to be considered by families very rationally and these three determinants are:

  1. Economic strength of individual / welfare of society
  2. Socially desired family setup
  3. Values of family / Associative strength of family

In case couples demand freedom and is happily willing to compromise on social pressure and does not find key family name as a challenge, they may wish to live in unit family system. Obviously care and respect of parents shall always be considered. In our social setup, couple living with parents might also be considered as mid form of Unit Family System & Joint Family System.

Families’ where members have similar financial status and significant freedom is provided to every couple, they might wish considering joint family or extended family system better. But having strong family values and moral values are very important to live in this system, otherwise regular conflicts among members will be experienced.

To provide one liner, if couple believes more in values and love to live in big family and compromise on their own privacy & freedom they shall live in joint family system. If smaller unit believe they may live in smaller house, and have sufficient financial muscle to support their extended family at distance and support their own smaller unit, they shall opt for nuclear family setup, because in Pakistan, both types of family systems are socially acceptable.

Hence no single mode of living can be said as the best for everyone. Families shall decide their mode of living, considering above provided factors.

This was my attempt of generating awareness about different family systems coupled with advantages and disadvantages of each.