Give and Take

I have noticed that most caretakers are male, and most caregivers are female. How odd.

We say “take care!”, but not “give care!”

Does this say more about the irrationality of English language than about roles of men and women in society?

Some of the most caring people I know are men. They express it in different ways to women, but they still care.

My dad is a case in point. He is well-versed in finding the positive in a situation and seeing humour, the big picture and a good way forward. He is careful with cooking, writing and diplomacy. I would not employ him to fix a new fan in a computer, but I don’t need to. I have a husband who can do that.

Overall, I believe that we care for one another best when we care in community. Some are better at doing some of the more humble or repetitive jobs. Some are better at just giving a hug when it is needed. Some are better at listening. Some are better at mending things. Some are better at taking care in details.

We are all part of the care machine that is Society. Each of us is necessary. None of us can say ‘I’m not important because what I do is not valuable’.

Just as importantly, the care we receive from others comes at cost, and none of us can take it for granted. At school we always used to joke that the real heirarchy was:  Caretaker at the top, Secretaries, Cleaners, Dinner Ladies, Teachers… Headmaster at the bottom! You do well to keep in with the caretaker in a school. It makes life so much easier. Why shouldn’t they be made to feel valuable too?

We all need to receive all kinds of care. I have recently finished studying a book with some others about the five languages of love. The ideas put forward by the authors are that of the following five ‘languages’, we each have our favourite, which speaks louder to us and which we need to hear to feel most loved:

Words of affirmation

Quality time

Receiving gifts

Acts of service

Physical touch

It’s an interesting idea, even if you don’t buy into it fully. Until I understand how my friends and family feel most appreciated, I am going to have to try and care for them in various ways, some of which hadn’t occurred to me before.


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