Category Archives: Children

The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood–Chapter 5

The Nature of a Woman’s Nurture by Gloria Furman

I guess I need to go back and identify the authors of previous chapters. Not that most people even know or care who these people are.

There’s a lot of hinting at what it means for women to be made “in the image of God”, but no concrete explanation. I’m still left with the conclusion that God is a VEHICLE, men are pickup trucks and women are sedans. This doesn’t explain why God is always referred to in masculine terms, though. When me and my husband are saying “Truck” he pictures “a vehicle with more than 4 wheels” (i.e. a tractor for a tractor trailer), whereas when I think of a truck, it’s a pickup truck. Both are equally correct and yet, when it comes to Christianity, the masculine definition always takes precedence.

“‘The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living'” (Genesis 3:20)

Which came first: the definition or the word. Since Adam was supposedly in charge of creating words and their definitions, I would assume that the definition came first and the word second, so it’s more accurate to say that Adam thought of his new wife as the “mother of all living” and decided that Eve was a good term to use for this definition. This is the opposite of what the sentence above actually says. That sentence implies that prior to Eve, Eve was the word used for “the mother of all living”, which of course makes no sense.

Hmm…

“When we hear the promise–or chastisement–that women ought to ‘have it all,’ we can experience particular pleasure in the fact that in Christ we already have infinitely more than anything this world can offer.”

Well, isn’t that just fine and dandy. And ignores the fact that women can have desires outside of the hearth and home! But, for mothers who want to shame their daughters into staying home and not pursuing a career, isn’t it great how they can smugly proclaim that they have more in Christ than anyone could ever dream of!

It isn’t that one way of life is better or worse than another. I’m perfectly comfortable with women deciding that staying home and raising their children is what is right for their family. But this whole book is about convincing women that what they think (patriarchal emphasis) they want in life isn’t what they should actual pursue.

I think that a woman’s ambitions are a direct message from God. God, as creator, has every ability to tell women (and men) what they’re meant to do with their lives. And if there’s a God who puts ambition into a woman’s heart, why they Hell would he then expect her to throw that ambition away so that she can stay at home and raise children? I mean this quite literally.

The Duggar Family has a blog which includes a “scrapbook” section. Johannah wants to be a doctor. Jennifer wants to be a veterinarian. Jordyn-Grace wants to be an artist. Josie wants to be a cook. I wish I could pull up the same scrapbook from when the older girls were younger, but that was on the website the Duggars used before 19 Kids and Counting was cancelled.

Obviously, these little girls, in their lives right now, feel that they’re being called to have these occupations. They probably spend a lot of their play time engaged in activities that show their ambitions. Johannah probably is the first to volunteer to bandage up a sibling. Jennifer is always bringing home a stray animal. Jordyn-Grace probably always has art supplies nearby and Josie loves helping out in the kitchen. In a secular household, these girls would be encouraged to pursue these careers.

In the Duggar household, only Josie would be actively encouraged to learn more about cooking, but wouldn’t be encouraged to get a job in the kitchen in a restaurant. Jordyn’s artistic skills would only be developed so much as they help her plan parties and decorate a home. She might be encouraged to spend her free time creating art, but she wouldn’t be allowed the freedom to truly study other artists and techniques in an art program. I haven’t heard that any of the girls have been allowed to attend a residential college, even a conservative Christian one. She could learn art history through online courses, but I imagine it’d be difficult to submit actual pieces for critique online, unless she likes designing pieces with a computer instead of physical supplies.

As for Johannah and Jennifer, both a doctor and a veterinarian require degrees in the physical sciences, which would be difficult given what I know of the curriculum that the Duggars use. So, besides needing to be able to go to a physical university (as opposed to a purely online one), they’d also need to get a real high school then college education in the sciences.

I don’t know how these poor girls will have their dreams squashed, whether overtly with lectures on how a woman’s place is in the home or by simple neglect of that dream (giving Johannah baby dolls instead of anatomy books), but I’m comfortable saying that neither girl will become a doctor or a veterinarian, Jordyn-Grace will not become a world famous artist, and Josie will not become a Michelin star chef.

And when I say that I’m “comfortable” saying that, what I mean is I don’t think my prediction will be wrong. But, truly that statement makes me extremely UNCOMFORTABLE because these girls have every right to pursue whatever career that they want. I realize that ambitions change as children become adults and learn more about themselves and their interests, but that would be one girl deciding that she’s more interested in history than science, not every girl deciding that instead of seeking higher education, she’ll stay home and learn only as much of her interests as will help her future family.

I’ll digress a moment here. I’ve always been concerned about Jana Duggar because it seemed like everything she did outside of the home, was as a tag-along to one sister or another. Actually, the two things that come immediately to mind is when she and Jill became EMTs and it seemed like Jana was only there to be Jill’s chaperone/buddy and later when Jill became a midwife, Jana went to classes to become a Doula, which seems to a somewhat skilled birthing coach (a role usually played by the father). In the case of Jana, it’s like Jill wanted to become a midwife and their parents said that she couldn’t go through the program alone, so Jana had to go with her and since she didn’t want to actually get involved with the medical side of births, she went the Doula route. I don’t think Jana has any real interest in either being an EMT or Doula and she just did these things because she was interested enough to want to get out of the house (unless she felt she could not refuse to help her sister out).

Gosh…I just checked the scrapbook page again because I hadn’t bothered to look at Jana’s profile since I was only interested in the ambitions of the little girls before and her future plans section is blank. I guess the gardening and home improvements that have been billed as how she’s been spending her time aren’t enough to warrant being considered actual “plans”. I really wonder how long this has been blank. Josh is still listed as the Executive Director of the FRC with a ? for future plans and John-David has a very vague “Get Married…” for his Future Plans. So it’s curious that Jana doesn’t even look forward to getting married (anymore?). I went ahead and sent them a message asking about this, so we’ll see what kind of reply I get, if any. Hmm…Jim Bob only has 2 grandkids mentioned on his profile, so that’s obviously been awhile since it was updated!

Anyway, back to the book.

Wow:

Because of Jesus, “We are free from laying claim to any fruit of our mothering labors as if they came from us, and we are free from the fear-mongering, workaholic mothering that thinks everything is up to us.”

Mothering is more than just raising your own offspring; mothering is what women are supposed to do for everyone through fellowship/discipleship. But apparently, it doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad at mothering, because any failure on your part can be passed onto Jesus, the ultimate holder of the buck.

Ooh…And when we’re exhausted from all the mothering that we have to do, we don’t have to ask our husband’s for help. Nope: call Jesus. Apparently he changes diapers and cleans up puke.

I think I’d rather be comfortable dumping a screaming child in my husband’s arms when I need a break, rather than “letting Jesus take the wheel” and leave the kid on the kitchen floor while I sit on the front porch crying (assuming the husband is happily oblivious in his mancave).

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Fairness

I just saw this Louis CK meme under the heading “Parenting Done Right”:

I have to say that I totally disagree with this meme and this idea of fairness. This says that fairness is an idea that will never happen and that kids should just accept that as a fact when really it’s mentalities like this that CONTRIBUTE to fairness being a pipe dream!

Let’s start at the beginning. The girl complains that someone got something and she didn’t. That implies that they’re literally standing right next to each other, were doing the exact same thing, and one girl got the gift and the other girl was left out. Hell right this isn’t fair! It’s also discrimination unless the only reason the other girl got the gift is because her name was randomly picked in a FAIR drawing (which would then make the gift giving FAIR).

Now, if Louis had explained, “Well honey, it’s her birthday and you’ll get gifts on your birthday,” then it’s a different ballgame! [Insert whatever hypothetical reality you want that gives a reason for one person to deserve a gift over another person while still being considered fair. Yes they exist as I’ve just given one above.]

The concept of fairness is that two people in identical circumstances deserve to be treated identically. This is what we need to teach our kids, NOT “life’s not fair, get over yourself”. Because honestly if we just ACCEPT that the world can NEVER be fair, then the world will never BE fair!

If people like me didn’t step up and say “what makes that other girl so special?” then girls like this one will continue to make less than their male counterparts WHEN DOING THE EXACT SAME JOB, poor black men will continue to be killed by police at a rate higher than poor white men WHEN COMMITTING THE EXACT SAME CRIME, etc. Unless, of course, folks like Louis CK want this reality for their children.