I am raising daughters. I have said it before: my interests are not divided. Raising boys is different. Raising a mixture of boys and girls is even more different. Both require different parenting. But in this house, we are raising only girls. And we are raising them to be godly women.
Having these girls has made me think about a lot of things over the last few years. I've had to think through modesty, dating, women's roles, college, homemaking skills, etc. Some of it is the here and now for us. Some of it looms on the horizon. But I want to be ready.
However, here is where we live...
We were at Wal-Mart a week or so ago. The girls and I had just rounded the corner with the shopping cart and S. was a few feet behind us. A lady stopped me and inquired if she could ask me a question. Her question was, "Have you heard of "god the mother?" (I think she would have capitalized that g, but I cannot.) I told her I had. She wanted to know where I had heard it. I told her I couldn't remember, but that I believed it was wrong. She held up her Bible and said that scripture talks about "god the mother" all over the place. Unfortunately for her, S. stepped up just then and asked her to show him where--where does it say that?
I say it was unfortunate for her, because if there is one thing I know about my husband--he LOVES to discuss scripture. He loves God's Word. And he knows it, too. We think she approached me because it seemed I was the mother of 2 girls, shopping all alone. Too bad for her.
S. motioned for us to go finish shopping and I gladly left him to debate with this misguided woman and the man standing silently behind her. Later I remembered, it was a friend from high school who liked to talk about "god the mother." I believe that the "appealing" part of this thinking is that it puts women in a more prominent position. You know, where they should be and all.
And then today we began learning about fire safety. I had printed a little sheet off the computer last night that showed all the gear a firefighter wears. You know, kids are scared when they see all that coming towards them during a fire, so they should be prepared. Well. When I handed the sheets to the girls to color I noticed that the firefighter was a woman. Hey, I know that there are thousands of women firefighters in this country, but it just annoyed me. Because I know the only reason they chose to put a woman instead of a man is to prove a point. It's like propaganda, I tell ya.
Then we went to the library where I selected several firefighter books from the non-fiction section. I didn't really bother to look at them before we headed home. How controversial could they be? Sweetheart really liked one book. It shows a female firefighter living in the fire house with the male firefighters, "getting" to do everything they do. She thought it looked like great fun and began talking about how she wanted to be a firefighter when she grew up. One picture even showed the woman sitting and lifting weights in between fires. "Whoa, Mom! It says '25' on the end of her weight!" Yeah. Good. This is the example I want for her. The very fact that the book includes lots of pics of the woman firefighter opens up the possibility in Sweetheart's mind that it could be her one day!
So what I'm saying is that feminism and feminist thinking is absolutely everywhere. We are saturated in it. It is even in the church. To an extreme with the woman at Wal-Mart, and to a lesser degree (subtler) in our churches. How do I raise daughters around these influences without them being influenced by it all?
Well, first of all I am assuming that feminism is bad. You might disagree, reader. To be perfectly honest, I have a hard time noticing feminist thinking because I am so used to it. I grew up in the 70's and 80's. I don't know any other way.
Except that when I read the Bible--I see something different.
Here is a quote from a site I found today on Women's History.
"Traditionally a middle-class girl in Western culture tended to learn from her mother's example that cooking, cleaning, and caring for children was the behavior expected of her when she grew up. Tests made in the 1960s showed that the scholastic achievement of girls was higher in the early grades than in high school. The major reason given was that the girls' own expectations declined because neither their families nor their teachers expected them to prepare for a future other than that of marriage and motherhood. This trend has been changing in recent decades."
So, I find myself feeling as though I'm trying to "return" to another time period. Some would feel that I am going backwards. I WANT my girls to believe that these things are expected of her when she grows up. I'm not so sure I want them to dream of careers. Is that wrong? Did she start thinking like this because of her years in public school? Is it just the swing of the proverbial pendulum?
I believe it is more. I am not looking to women's history to make up my mind about how I will raise my daughters. I am not looking at society or the world. I am not looking to any famous Christian authors. I strive to look at God's Word only. But it's difficult when this other is in our face all the time.
**Please don't read this post as an attack on female firefighters who could one day save my life. I know. They work hard. It isn't about them--it's just that I believe those pictures are included in the children's book very purposefully.