Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It's Just That It's In My Face All The Time

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.


  1. You know what, Brenda..
    The pendelum swung too far towards feminist issues for too long, and now I believe it's headed the much furthur other way in response to it, mainly in Christian circles. I'm curious to see where it will land.

    I think it's wonderful many Christian mothers are interested in teaching their daughters to be keepers at home, and training them to do so. I know I am.

  2. Brenda,

    I visit your blog often, but never have commented.

    I have to be honest with you - as I was reading this, I kept thinking "what's the big deal? there's a woman firefighter? woman can fight fires too." However, being a Christian woman myself, I believe what you believe....so you got me thinking by the end of your post. Good job.

    Guess I gotta go get back into my scripture and stop letting the world skew my views!

  3. Yes, it's hard for sure. Dilute--for every 1 part WORLD they unwittingly ingest, make sure you feed them the beauty of 10 parts WORD. As they grow, they'll be able to discern the good and the bad through their own close walk with God.

  4. Hi Brenda,

    Great posts, I share your sentiments! I am raising two older daughters and there is feminism everywhere we turn---I share your struggle of not always noticing the subtle lies of this movement but have grown sharper over the years by keeping myself immersed in the Word and reading up on it like at ladiesagainstfeminism.com---I highly recommend for you to listen to 'Strength and Dignity' by the Botkins sisters and read their book "So Much More" they can all be found at Vision Forum.com---a real life changing vision for daughters!

    Many blessings...

  5. Oh Brenda! I don't know if you remember asking me if we were separated at birth. I am convinced that we were! I, too am raising a house full of girls, no boys. I, too, struggle with these same issues, particularly as some of mine are entering the teen years. And I agree with you, these images in the books you mentioned are part of a determined strategy to turn our girls' hearts away from home. Isn't it amamzing that even as a homeschool mom, you still contend with these messages as you educate your kids. What's a mother to do? I have determined to raise my girls in the truth, no matter how unpopular it may be in this present age. And honestly, one of my girls is showing no sign of embracing the keeper at home life. I will continue to hold up the standard, pray, and trust God with the rest. Thanks for a great post.

  6. I've dealt with some of these same issues.

    Last year, I had a Sunday School class full of 10-11 year old girls, which included my daughter.

    Somehow we got on the subject of what they would do when they grew up. One wanted to be a doctor; another a vet; and even another wanted to be an athletic director. When it got to my daughter, she said, "I want to be a mom". The whole class erupted in laughter. One girl told her that a mom wasn't a "real" job.

    Miraculously, I held my peace. But, I also came away from that class with a huge respect for my daughter.

  7. I asked my 4 year old daughter yesterday what she wanted to be when she grew up, expecting her to say her normal "a firefighter" answer (I am not kidding. Her papa is one, so that is where she gets that idea.) Instead, she said, "just a mom." I found that answer bittersweet because while she did say "a mom," she put a "just" in front of it. There was my chance to explain it's not just anything and that God has called me to this and He will call her to this too.

    Anyway, I think I have been so immune to feminism in the world up until now, it is amazing what I NOW have ears to hear and eyes to see. It is in our face all the time: politics, friends, family, the store, books, even the church. It's difficult to keep your kids from seeing it (boys and girls alike. Even though we will be raising our son differently than our daughter, we certainly want him to know and understand what's expected of each gender so that he has an understanding of how to treat a wife someday.) I liked GB's answer about diluting the world that are kids are exposed to with the WORD. That's why it's so important to hide His word in our hearts... and our kids' hearts.

  8. Well, I have no daughters, but I can believe it is a challenge to raise up women whose hearts are directed toward their homes. It is definitely a struggle in this culture. I myself was terrified to quit my job and stay home. I have sons, so I have a different challenge but would hope to raise them to be able to support their families and to be supportive of their wife's role in homemaking and raising children. That said, I wonder if there are seasons in a woman's life for outside work or career. Looking in Prov. 31, the Wife of Noble Character certainly appears to be a business woman as well. I would think that she did not accomplish everything in this chapter at 1 season in her life, but perhaps throughout the course of her life. What if a daughter is not called to marriage until 26, 27, later? Maybe she fulfills another calling first?

    Well you may hit double digits on this post after all! ;)

  9. Kathy, You are exactly right. S. and I talked about this last night. Before they are married, they can certainly have jobs. After they are married and before they have children, they can probably work some too. It's just that we will teach them what comes first (being a helper, keeper at home. Also, I will teach them to wisely choose something that could later be done in a part-time fashion, or from home in case there is a need to earn extra income from home. I will teach them to avoid a career that would take over their life and snuff out their opportunities to serve their family.

  10. I am so excited that I found your blog- we seem to be traveling similar journeys. I also have two daughters, and I have been feeling more and more convicted to return our home to more traditional, Biblical values of femininity.
    My greatest hope is that my girls will be moms and homemakers- there is no greater blessing than this, and I say this as a woman who has worked my entire married life. praise God, though, those days are numbered and soon my work will all be homemaking!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)