CommonSense

Hello.... Hi there... I'm Cynthia Gee, and I'm creating this as a mirror of my other CommonSense blog at HomeschoolBlogger. I am copying the first several articles from over there, and moving them here in their entirety, complete with reader's comments. So if you see your comment HERE, and remember posting it over THERE, relax. You're sane.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Repentance

On her blog at Buried Treasure Books , Carmon Friedrich writes,

Since she is graduating this spring from our homeschool, Gracie has been asked by more than one inquiring mind what she is going to do with her life. Many well-meaning people have assumed such an articulate and talented young lady is going to college. A few have been taken aback when she tells them that she is planning on continuing her studies at home, and that she wants to prepare to be a wife and a mother.
Another young friend was helping serve at a fund-raising event, when an older woman engaged her in conversation and asked her the same question, and received the same response. The woman, who had chosen never to marry so she could pursue a career, was taken aback. She very sternly assured this young girl that she would one day change her mind!
I have been very grateful for the strong defense Pastor Tim and Pastor David Bayly have been making for the strong and vital role of godly women in the home. Tim recently
posted a tribute to his mother-in-law Margaret, widow of Ken Taylor and mother of many. My husband Steve was close to Ken’s brother’s family in high school, so we enjoy reading of the influence of this godly clan which has been growing and serving the Lord faithfully in many places.

Tim says:

"When young Christian women are ashamed to admit their choice of school, of major, and of method of financing their education is directly related to their commitment to be ready for marriage, bearing children, and making a home, who would deny that the Church is taking her cues from the world?
Christians ask their children, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Pity the poor young thing who answers, “I want to be a mother like Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth, or Mary,” because her indoctrination is about to begin.
“Yes dear, of course you will be a mother; but wouldn’t you like to be a doctor or lawyer, or to play in an orchestra, too?”
Being a wife and mother isn’t enough anymore, is it?"



I am so happy that Gracie is happy to say it is enough for her, and that she knows that serving God from her home is the highest calling to which she could aspire. She will keep learning, working, and dreaming, and she will embrace with joy the freedom she finds in the life our society considers a lesser choice. It’s funny. If she had said she was going to be a teacher of other people’s children, she would be lauded for her altruism and praised for her choice. Let us not discourage our young ladies from finding fulfillment in the role of wife and mother, a job which most of them eventually will be filling and which they ought to prepare for with at least as much effort as they devote to other pursuits.
No young woman should be ashamed to say that her goal is to be a wife and mother. Christians, of all people, should be encouraging girls to look forward to those noble callings, not portraying motherhood and marriage as second best or second-rate with raised eyebrows or “what ifs.” A few are called to singleness, but marriage is the norm, and from the original command to be “fruitful and multiply” to the picture of our relationship with Christ as a marriage, culminating in the marriage feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7, which is really a happily ever after beginning, though it’s at The End of The Book), marriage is held in high esteem. If we wish it to be so in the church, let alone the culture, then we must not denigrate the preparation for it with our daughters, insisting they prepare for singleness instead.
Family life is not mundane. I hereby grant permission for that statement to be printed on bumper stickers and pasted on billboards, no royalties required. If we can just get the church to believe this, then we will all be much richer.



Being a wife and mother was my goal back in the 70s too…

I went to college and earned a degree, and got married at the end of my senior year to a wonderful man. I stayed home for the most part until our girls were grown. Even though my husband hinted that I should go to work, and even though we never made enough money to buy a home, have proper insurance, or even pay our bills on time, I enjoyed being a stay at home wife.

Over the years medical expenses and income tax errors resulted in two bankruptcies, and if we ever own a home at this point, it will be through the grace of God alone. My husband has always done the best he could for our family, but he is a humble and unassuming man, the kind that gets run over roughshod in the dog-eat-dog world of business.

Now we are in our late 40s. We are still renting, driving old vehicles, and have NOTHING saved for our retirement. My patient, longsuffering husband is supporting both my mother and I on less than $30,000 a year, he is worn out, and now his health is failing. It looks as though I am going to have to go back to school to get still more training (a 27 year old BA in English is practically useless, employment-wise), in order help my husband and to prepare myself should I, God forbid, eventually be forced to become the family breadwinner. I should have done it long ago, gone back to work, and been a real help-meet to my husband.

Maybe he wouldn’t be ill now, if I had.

Worse still, our two daughters have looked at their father and I and have resolved that this will never happen to their families. Although both are the mothers of small children, they have chosen to remain in the work force until their families own homes and are financially secure, rather than remain at home even until their youngest children are in school .


Thanks to my example, our grandchildren are being raised by daycare providers.

Mea culpa.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jen said...

Cynthia, you cannot blame yourself for all this. God is Sovereign; keep that in mind.

If you had worked while your children were younger, you may or may not have had a hand in preventing your husband from getting ill. I seriously doubt it. You would have provided your children with material security, but not with your time. Which is more important? You chose the more valuable thing.

What your daughters choose now is independent of whether or not you worked or stayed home. As an older woman, and as a mother, you can encourage them to stay home, but it is ultimately their decision. If they desire material security more than a relationship with their own children, they are the ones making poor decisions, not you.

Stop beating yourself up. It sounds to me like you were a wonderful wife and mother, doing all that you could to make life livable during financial hardships.

Chin up, Cynthia! And I'm sure you are plenty intelligent enough to get a good job, should your husband need your help.

1:37 AM  
Blogger zan said...

Cynthia,

I second Jen, here. Do not blame yourself. Giving your children your time is the important thing.

My grandmother was in a similar situation as you. She married young and stayed home until her kids were older. Most of them had married. At that time she needed to go back to work/school to help earn money (not everyone can have their own homebusiness). She became a nurse's aide and a taught part-time at a Christian School. I don't think woulda-shoulda-coulda is a good way to look at it. You never know how things would've turned out if you had a career.

My father insisted that all three of his daughters get a college degree. (I'm an RN.)I stay home full time and so does my sister. I am sure my little sister will stay home as soon as she is married with children.

I don't think the college issue is as cut and dry as some would like it to be. I do think college degrees are helpful, but *how* you obtain it doesn't have to be the way everyone else does. My father sent all of us girls to community college. He would never send us away to dorm, even if it was a Christian College. I think that sending a girl away at 18 should be reconsidered and carefully thought out. Boys are different, but I hope that if my boys want to go to college that they will consider the local univeristy or community college.

I am digressing now.

I pray that you will find some ample employment to supplement your husband's income. I don't think there is anything wrong with a wife doing this, especially when her children are grown. I hope and pray that your husband's health improves.

Remember that God is soverign!

Take care

9:49 PM  
Blogger Light said...

There are so many presuppositions in the Buried Treasure and Bayly comments that disturb me. First is the notion that being a wife and mother is the "highest calling" a woman can have. That simply can't be supported by scripture. (In fact, have you ever heard a man say his "highest calling" was as husband and father?)

The second is the notion that while men, in addition to being a husband and father, are almost certain to have other callings as well. Yet in hyper-patriarchy, a woman's entire personhood, with "non-normative" exception, is seen to be defined by marriage and motherhood. In hyper-patriarchy, her only legitimate calling, if she wishes for a family, is as a full-time wife and mother. Any other callings she may have are seen as sinful. The full personhood of a woman is denied – she cannot possibly be called as a doctor, a lawyer, a journalist, or anything that might take her away from her mandatory full-time "role" in the home. She is not permitted to have interests, skills, gifts, or desires that take her outside the home. And if she absolutely has to work, for economic reasons, well then, she darned well better not like it, and it had better not pay anywhere near a man's wage, either!

Hyper-patriarchy has taken what was a fleeting cultural phenomenon - the domestic scene of upper middle class and upper class Victorian England, or 1950's middle and upper class America - - and made an idol of it.

Women across most cultures and most of history have contributed economically to their household. In agricultural cultures, women plowed, harvested, cared for animals, etc, right alongside their husbands. In towns and cities, businesses were run out of homes (weavers, blacksmiths, bakers, tentmakers) and it was a family business. Women contributed as much as men did. This artificial divide of husband going outside the home and bringing home a salary while women run the home and raise children is actually non-normative.

Even today, according to some statistics, women perform the vast majority of the world's labor and yet control the tiniest fraction of the wealth.

Cynthia, your case is a perfect example of where the hyper-patriarchs are failing to realize what men lose in their world. Because you were deceived about what was and wasn't "biblical" when it came to working outside the home (let me know if I'm assuming that there, perhaps I'm reading you wrong), you were unable to be the helpmeet that your husband really needed.

Have you ever noticed how some patriarchal families wear their poverty with self-righteous pride? I have news for them. Poverty is no more righteous than financial security. Neglecting our children damages them, but so does poverty. A little balance would go a long way. Imagine, for instance, if you had worked part time through the years. Your children would have been just fine, and your finances would be in much better shape.

There are so many ways to do this – to answer to our callings, to use our talents in exchange for income – that meet our family's needs without locking women into a rigid role of forever-SAHM. Some may choose to be a SAHM for a season or for life, and that's wonderful! But for those who are called outside the home, those desires are NOT sinful. There are many ways to do it without neglecting our families. Shiftwork, part-time work, family businesses, home-based businesses, serial careers (his turn, then her turn), sabbaticals, etc.

I believe the 21st century offers a great deal of hope. The virtual economy and the internet allow great opportunity to create a life, family, and career for both men and women that permit at least one parent to stay home much of the time to be available to the children while still bringing in an income. In 2002, I started a business that, part-time, brings in more than the average American worker earns full time. It's the new economy and technology that have enabled me to do this, to be a full person not locked into a single-track role, but rather a real, whole person with many skills, talents, and interests. And I must also say, I have found far more opportunity to witness about Christ, and minister to others, in the work-a-day world than I EVER did as a SAHM (I was a SAHM for ten years).

Cynthia, I hear the regret in your post, and my heart breaks for you. Hindsight is always 20-20. Please be gentle with yourself! You did the best with what you had, the best way you knew how. Your husband is a treasure, supporting you always in your desire to be a SAHM.

7:01 PM  

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