By Mike Willis
When God created the world, he chose a variety of ways for young to be brought into the world. Some animals lay eggs and depart, never seeing their own young. Some animals are nearly self-sufficient from birth. God created man in such a fashion that the young are dependent upon their parents for nearly two decades. Consequently, the role of parenting is one of life’s most important tasks.
The Changing Role of Women
The fashion of the world is constantly changing. Nowhere is change more evident than in the role of women. The Feminist Movement in America has reshaped the values and thinking of many American women. One area drastically affected has been the attitude women take toward the home and parenting.
At a former time, women believed that their highest role in life was the work of bearing and rearing children. One of the proverbs of that day emphasized that role: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Some women who were not content serving in the role of “mother,” began a movement to reshape the attitudes of American women. The movement has had so much success that a woman who decides to stay at home and rear her children is sometimes thought to be an unproductive member in our society. Society standards make the mother who decides to stay home and rear her children to ask if her life has been truly fulfilling.
Every year, a larger number of women leave the home to enter the work place. In order for the mother to work, the children must be placed in day care centers, stay with baby sitters, or some place other than mother’s knee. Regardless of how conscientiously those working with other’s children may be, they are a poor second to a mother’s tender loving care, her constant oversight and guidance.
We need to unabashedly re-emphasize the importance of mothering and parenting. By design, God ordained that children be born in a family environment, to receive the training that a God-fearing mother and father can provide. Paul emphasized the sanctity of a mother’s role in such passages as the following:
Notwithstanding she (the woman) shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety (1 Tim. 2:15).
A widow could be enrolled in the church’s role for permanent support if, among other things, “she had brought up children” (1 Tim. 5:10). Younger widows were encouraged to “marry, bear children, guide the house” (1 Tim. 5:14).
Older women should train the younger women to “love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands” (Tit. 2:4-5).
I recognize that some women have been forced by financial circumstance to enter the world of business; many are conscientious mothers and wives, striving to be all that God would want them to be. These women who juggle a heavy schedule to do double duty have my respect and sympathy. However, some other women who enter the world of business have been infected with the values of the feminist movement. They work because they want their own career (as if rearing a family were not a career), they want the material things extra money can buy, and they want to be recognized and respected by the world.
America is paying a high price for this newly found in, dependence as a generation of latch-key children are grow ing up. In the absence of parental oversight, latch-key children experiment with drugs, sex, and alcohol. Problem of drug and alcohol addiction and illegitimate babies destroy teenagers. Children graduate from high school hardly knowing how to read. Where are the parents during these years?
Being a parent to our children is a precious privilege. Socrates is reported to have said over 2000 years ago, “Could I climb to the highest place in Athens, I would lift my voice and proclaim: ‘Fellow citizens, why do ye turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth and take so little care of your children to whom one day you must relinquish it all?'”
A poet wrote,
I saw tomorrow look at me
From little children’s eyes,
And thought how carefully we would teach
If we were really wise.
Along the same train of thought, Clifton Rogers wrote,
I may never be as clever as my neighbor down the street;
I may never be as wealthy as some other man I meet;
I may never have the glory that some other men have had;
But I’ve got to be successful as a little fellow’s Dad.
There are certain dreams I cherish that I’d like to see come true;
There are things I would accomplish ere my working time is through;
But the task my heart is set on is to guide a little lad,
And to make myself successful as a little fellow’s Dad.
I may never come to glory; I may never gather gold;
Men may count me as a failure when my business life is told;
But if he who follows after shall be manly, I’ll be glad,
For I’ll know I’ve been successful as a little fellow’s Dad.
It’s the one job I dream of; it’s the task I think of most;
If I’d fail that growing youngster, I’d have nothing else to boast;
For though wealth and fame I’d gather, all my future would be sad,
If I failed to be successful as that little fellow’s Dad.
As you pause to think about the important things of life, what can you truthfully say is more important than your children?
I have witnessed the sorrow of parents whose children have grown up away from God as they lamented the years of neglect in rearing their children. How often they wish they could recall those years, reorder their priorities, and mold their children’s lives to worship and serve God. That time has passed and never can be recalled.
To spare you that grief, I exhort you parents who have younger children and have the financial ability to make a hoice to order your priorities. Is that new car and larger house worth what it will cost in the absence of the mother from home during those early, formative years of your child’s life? Can you voluntarily relinquish those material ossessions to provide a better spiritual foundation for your hildren? Do you truly think the personnel at the day care center can provide the attention, care and oversight that you would provide as a parent to your own offspring?
I treasure the memories of Jenny and Corey’s childhood. I remember the tears in the eyes of my wife Sandy and me when Jennifer boarded the bus for the first day of kindergarten. I remember her first performance in a school play. I remember her baptism at Dayton, Ohio. I remember her singing “The Rose” at a junior high performance. I remember Corey’s joy at learning to ride a bicycle. I remember how much he enjoyed playing. I remember his baptism. What would I trade for the memories? A better car? A bigger house? More clothes? No thanks!
I am content knowing that a bond of love joins our hearts together with each other – and together also with Christ.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 6, pp. 162, 184-185
March 21, 1991