Family

From “The Closing of the American Mind” by Allan Bloom

“In family questions, inasmuch as men were understood to be so strongly motivated by property, an older wisdom tried to attach concern for the family to that motive: the man was allowed and encouraged to regard his family as his property, so he would care for the former as he would instinctively care for the latter. This was effective, although it obviously had disadvantages from the point of view of justice. When wives and children come to the husband and father and say, “We are not your property; we are ends in ourselves and demand to be treated as such,” the anonymous observer cannot help being impressed. But the difficulty comes when wives and children further demand that the man continue to care for them as before, just when they are giving an example of caring for themselves. They object to the father’s flawed motive and ask that it be miraculously replaced by a pure one, of which they wish to make use for their own ends. The father will almost inevitably constrict his quest for property, cease being a father and become a mere man again, rather than turning into a providential God, as others ask him to be.”

He’s also not saying we should go back to the idea of women and children as property, but he has a point. They system worked in its way. It satisfied one natural need and we can’t just discard it like rubbish and expect to have the same outcomes of secure families. I guess what people think is that secure family attachments aren’t necessary. Mother’s aren’t exactly necessary to children to grow up in the world and become functioning citizens. Father’s aren’t necessary. It all seems so bizarre to me really because I’m a Mother and Wife. I don’t feel owned by my husband as property. I feel protected and respected for my role in our family. I don’t think my husband feels used as a provider of income. I feel like we work as a team. Hmm…Something is wrong in this world, though. Families aren’t the strength they used to be. We keep the older generation out of the current and the younger generation away from the home. Husbands and wives act as independent machines. It all seems to be going nowhere and no one is happy anymore.

This chapter has been very good to read. There is a lot about the equality of men and women, how things have changed (up until the late 80’s when this was written), and the political/social forces behind the change. Reading it I wonder if things are different now in the colleges and universities. Are entering students worse or better off? From what I see around me, I think it’s worse or at least things have run the natural course they were taking 30 years ago.

What will happen to humanity if we keep insisting that biology doesn’t exist and that we must all be independent citizens of a state instead of interdependent members of a family? It brings to mind the other book I’m reading at the moment, “Kallocain” by Karin Boye. The family situation in that dystopian novel is frightening.

A follow up to yesterday’s post!

My reading today was from Genesis 3, about the fall of man. You know, Eve taking the fruit and then giving it to Adam, which would make sense from yesterday’s post, right? I mean, if Eve was created as an ally to Adam, a kind of guide, then her taking the fruit and giving it to Adam would make sense. Adam, like a nut, went ahead and did what she told him without thinking about it. If you had a guide leading you through a desert and he said that you were going to jump off this cliff and then keep walking would it make sense to follow him? Wouldn’t you have some responsibility in your death if you just trusted something like that? So Eve hands him the fruit God specifically said not to eat and Adam takes it. When God questions him, he points at Eve. “She gave it to me. You said she was my ally and guide.” I can just see God shaking his head. Eve says the same thing. “That snake told me to do it.” They’ve both been given the gift of free will and neither of them accepts the responsibility that goes with it.

So where am I going? Well, yesterday I read and researched a bit the idea that Eve was not created merely as Adam’s helper but as his ally, partner, and guide. And I wondered what happened to that role? Why do we not promote that idea in the Christian church? It turns out, I think, that the answer is right in Genesis 3:16 “To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” There you go, folks. Childbirth was painful already but we willingly went through it because we were allied with our husband to “be fruitful and multiply” but now it would be very painful and make us not want to help our husband. Because of Eve’s role in the fall we will still desire to have children with him and he will rule over us instead of ally with us.

It sounds so sad. I wonder what Adam and Eve’s relationship looked and felt like before that. I wonder what their relationship with God looked and felt like! But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a similar relationship with our husbands. It doesn’t mean we are doomed to bear as many (or as few) children as our husband wants and live strictly under his rule. We were all given grace for our transgressions as a race of humans. Jesus was born and died to forgive all sins, including that first one that started it all. In my book, that’s just one more reason that I thank God for that gift. I have a wonderful partnership with my husband and I credit that to God’s grace on us both. It’s one more thing I thank God for every day, for my partner and my ally against the evils of this world.

A Woman’s Role?

Yesterday, I started reading a very interesting book I found at the used bookstore in town. I love books about science and the bible, trying to reconcile spiritual matters with the physical. They intrigue me and this one has not disappointed me! It’s called “The Genesis Question – Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis” by Hugh Ross.

Here’s what I came across today that I really found fascinating and then had to go dig deeper online…well, as much as I could today anyway. I tend to get very excited about some topic and spend about thirty minutes googling and reading, but then have to get back to taking care of my family. I’ve got housework to keep up, people! Can’t just sit around reading all day!

Concerning Eve’s designation as “helper”, “’Ezer is the Hebrew word for “helper” in Genesis 2:18, 20. The Hebrews used this word with reference to a military ally (see, for example, 2 Chronicles 28:16 and Psalms 121:1-2), and all that is essential for victory.”

“Together, Adam and Eve, men and women, can conquer. Divided and embattled, they fail.”

And it’s true. 2 Chronicles 28:16 is when King Ahaz sends for help (ozr) and Psalms 121:1-2 is “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help (ozr) come? My help (ozr) comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” After a bit of research, I found that ozr and ezer are the same thing. It just depends on who’s writing it since it’s a transliteration.

Interesting. Right? So what happened? How come our Bibles say “helper”, “helpmeet”, or “similar helper”? Why do they not say “an ally”? It just means something totally different. Then I wonder well, if you really study it and cross reference like this guy did, then you’d see that the word is used in other contexts to mean “an ally” not just a “helper”. But then I wonder why the pastor wouldn’t fill us in on this instead of telling the congregation that wives are only “helpers”, not that that isn’t a pretty important role! But “ally” kind of implies a bit more, doesn’t it? So I Googled again and found another interesting read.

It’s called “Eden’s Mystery Job Description” I like this guys style, probably because it’s written like a train of thought but with more details. It’s something I aspire to do! He pointed out that in the Hebrew, Genesis 2:18 has another word after ozr that isn’t in anyone’s translation. It’s transliterated to mean “in front of him” but then it’s just dropped off in everyone’s translation. Why? What happened? When I say “God created a helper for Adam.” it seems to mean something completely different from “God created a helper in front of Adam.” Sounds weird but it could mean a lot of things.

I’ve got more reading to do about this and I’ll probably come back to it in twenty years because that’s how I do things, but I have to say right now, what better way for Satan to divide God’s creation against itself than to get someone to drop a few words out of a translation and put one conscious part of His creation above another and tell that part that God says you have to be submissive and take your husband’s lead in all things instead of partnering and becoming his ally. Sounds a lot like what Satan did in the garden. God didn’t really mean you’d DIE if you ate that fruit, did he?

Look where we are now. I know so few people that are actually partners with their spouse. They mostly seem as though they only tolerate each other at best, even Christian families. Was this Satan doing?

What To Write

I’m debating whether or not to write more about our lifestyle on my blog. Our lives are very different from most other people’s. When I talk to some people I feel like they cannot grasp what it is we do. Even closer family members reveal, in some small ways, that they really don’t “get” us. But should I post to try to bring to people our peaceful and happy way of life? I guess what I really want is for someone out there to see what we really are and there probably is no way of doing that besides living here. Or should I post about our lifestyle to give people a glimpse of another way of living an “American” life? Families are so different and really don’t think any one way has a monopoly on being right, but my children seem well adjusted and happy and it’s not because they are special minds, or that we were very strict and trained them up right. I’d really love my version of a happy family life to be out there for people to see.

Nature vs Nurture?

Are we are more like animals that we are comfortable admitting? Most herd or pack animals keep adolescent males at a distance. There is typically one adult male in the group and he defends against other adult males that approach the group. Adolescent females abound in groups. The adults keep them close by, offer guidance, use them as mother’s helpers with babies and youth. Are humans any different? I don’t believe so.

I’ve noticed it at our local homeschool park day over the years. Homeschooelers mimic nature much closer than schooled people. In the family unit, there is typically harmony. Young children grow up with different generations of related adults in close proximity. They slowly start to leave Mom’s side more and more taking on more and more responsibilities for themselves until they reach adulthood and seek out a mate to start the whole process over again.

But park days are something special to watch. I see it like a pride of lions in a way without the single male patriarch. We all have our own male at home or work, providing for us. We gather with our children at the park once a week to socialize and let the children play with other children of all ages. I did it for years. It’s very primal. But I started to notice something as my boys started to enter their adolescent years. They felt more and more watched. Other mother’s seemed more tense as my large young men approached the playground. When a teenage girl offers to push a child on the swings, everyone coos. Their being so maternal. When a teenage boy does it, they are on guard. They can’t put their finger on it, but it’s there. I can feel their nervous watching. The boys felt it too and naturally stopped wanting to come along. In larger groups, where there are more kids, the teenage boys tend to break off from the group and stick together. It reminds me of the stories I’ve heard about wild elephant herds.

I think we should be OK with this. It does seem more natural. But the problem comes up when women complain about our husbands not being good with small children. They aren’t gentle and nurturing. They seem at a loss about what to do with a squalling toddler. How can we expect them to know what to do? Our girls have had plenty of practice as we haven’t pushed them away from the smaller children as teenagers. We’ve asked them to help constantly since the moment it seemed to us they were capable of taking a bit more responsibility. Have we ever asked our young sons to take smaller kids to the bathroom for us? Have we asked them to push the babies in the stroller or take them to the swings? I think as wives and mother’s we need to be a bit more understanding when our husbands are awkward holding our new baby and hand them back as soon as they start to squirm. After all, our society (or nature) seems to have trained them this way. They are the providers, the protectors. Praise them for their contribution.

This is all generalizing, of course. There are women who make better protectors than nurturers. And there are men that are obviously very much nurturers. I really think we need to look at the world around us and accept the people we bring into our lives just as they are, not as we want them to be. If your husband doesn’t want to hold and feed the baby regularly, accept that that is who he is. He may become more accustomed to it over time and help more than if you nagged him about not helping out with his own child. If your wife feels more comfortable having a nanny (or Dad) take care of the toddlers while she works outside the home to provide for the family in that way, you need to accept that that is who you married and had children with, not try to make her be the house wife you envisioned. We should all have known what kind of a spouse and parent we were marrying as much as humanly possible and then accept that person as whole, not try to change them after the fact.

I Must Be the Only One

Reading my Facebook feed this morning, I feel like I’m completely alone. I’m the only person against same-sex “marriage”. Yep. I said it! I’m agin’ it! But it’s not what you think. I’m not for any state sanctioned marriage at all. You know how we can promote equality in the United States? By the government, especially the federal government, staying out of religious ceremonies. And that is what marriage is, a religious ceremony. If your religion does not allow same-sex marriage, you should work that out with your religion, not the state. What happens now when a church does not want to perform a same-sex marriage because they believe it is wrong? Will they be forced to do so, like the businesses that are forced to take money from people they don’t agree with? How is that “equality”?

The state should be upholding contracts between consenting adults and that is all. Anyone should be able to make legally binding contract with any other adult to be that persons legal partner. It has nothing to do with sex, love, or religion. Taxes, insurance, community property; none of these things should be linked to marriage. Your church “marrying” you should not count toward legal things. It’s a religious thing. You should need to have a “civil union” contract between you as well to be recognized by the legal system.

I’m disgusted with the hurrah and excitement over the state overloads condescending to allow consenting adult to sign a binding contract. It’s ridiculous!

Marriage

All the debate on same-sex marriage. Why? Why does government have anything to do with marriage at all? Why would we not just look to contract law? You don’t need a ceremony unless you want one. And you can create any kind of religious or non-religious ceremony you want.

Any two people should be able to sign a contract that says you are responsible for each other and the children you contract or create, and that contract can be dissolved through legal channels as well.

If you are a Christian, Muslim, Jew, of whatever, go to your place for the ceremony and have it be recognized by them. No one should be forced to perform a marriage. And it’s fine if some groups don’t recognize your marriage. You don’t have anything to do with them.

Legal things like hospital stays, insurance, wills, children, loans, taxes, etc. can all recognize a legal contract between to consenting adults.

Get the government out of the term marriage and you’ve solved all the problems.