Deacon Pat Taylor reflects on how entering into work for the good of the family has had a detrimental impact on family life, especially for women who can spend very little time with their children. To build a better community, Christians should therefore get involved with others and businesses should be encouraged to act equitably, realising happy workers are likely to be productive workers.

Family

The family is a building block of society. It is though a concept that has changed over time. There are many single parents often struggling along trying to make a life for themselves and their children. Work has become an essential part of the equation of survival for all families, with successive governments looking to force parents into work for “the good” of their families. This has had a detrimental effect on family life in many cases, especially for women who tend to get forced into lower paid work.

A recent survey found that the average parent spent just 49 minutes a day with their child – this cannot be good for family life. Campaigns have sprung up due to the detrimental effects that low pay is having on family life. One such is the living wage campaign run by London Citizens which seeks to get employers to pay a minimum of £7.60 an hour – the figure required to keep the family above the poverty level. The campaign came from Catholic parishes where it was found family life was being devastated by parents having to do two or three jobs a week just to keep their families afloat. More than one fifth of the population in the UK live under the poverty line.

Housing is another important requirement for family life. More than one million people in the UK live in overcrowded accommodation. Many struggle to pay the rent. Reform of housing beneft threatens to make things far worse for those struggling by to bring up families. These are issues that need to be addressed if families are to flourish.

Prayer:

God our Father it is evident that you regard your relationship with us as the ideal of our relationship with our children. We therefore come to you and ask that you bless all families so that they may always be able to journey together with you through life and help create a loving caring society within the world.

Action:

(a) Get actively involved in trade unions, justice and peace groups and community organisatons concerned with issues like the living wage and workers rights.
b) Work with housing charities like Housing Justice and the Cardinal Hume Centre to help those struggling to find a home and work in today’s world

Deacon Pat Taylor, St. Joseph’s Parish, Basingstoke

http://www.catholicsocialteaching.org.uk/themes/life-work/reflection/life-work-deacons-view/

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