In light of the Meghan O’Rourke article on today’s “Links To Go,” today seems like a good day to broach yet another unpopular aspect of our gender roles discussion. I think modern society has undercut and devalued the arena where women are created to shine: the home. The roles of wife and mother are seen as largely irrelevant; the stay-at-home mom is concerned to “not do anything.”
Full disclosure: My mom has a master’s degree and taught full-time for many years. Both of my sisters went to college and work full-time. My wife has a master’s, is considering a doctorate, and works outside the home. My daughter is a freshman in college, and I would have been very disappointed had she not continued her education.
I don’t think “barefoot and pregnant” is the highest calling a woman has. And I fully support any woman who wants to work outside the home.
But I think we’ve lost the value of motherhood, and that’s damaged our society and damaged our churches. And I think confusion about gender roles in society has played a part of that.
I also realize how old-fashioned that sounds, yet I know that we live in a culture where merely being a Christian is a bit old-fashioned. I’m willing to run the risk of being old-fashioned.
I believe that men were meant to provide for and support their families. I believe that women were intended to be the primary nurturers and caregivers for the children, primary creators of the home environment for the family. Each gender contributes to the other’s tasks, but I believe there is an order that works on physical, psychological, and emotional levels. (The physical is admittedly less true in modern society, at least as far as labor is concerned)
I also think that we do harm to our families, our churches, and our societies when we neglect that order.
Am I saying that our churches are doomed if women participate more? By no means. But I am saying that the goal of full egalitarianism, in my understanding, is a foolish goal. And I believe that what most pleases God is a difference in emphasis in the spheres of focus of men and women. Men aren’t to neglect the family; women aren’t to neglect the church. But their roles in those spheres are different.
And yes, I feel like a caveman even writing such words. The feminist movement has done its job well.