Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Raising Jes

I wrote much more about how my parents raised me and my brothers. Then I decided that the message was simple enough. There were definite differences in how we were raised - some because we were male and female - some because we were just different personalities. There were lots of mixed messages in my up-bringing. Shelly said she and her brothers were still paying therapy bills for being treated differently (by parents) not only because of their sex, but also their age. Shelly made me laugh, but sadly, her statement is very true for many of my generation. Is it because we were raised by the old school, conservative way of thinking at the same time Women’s Lib was making itself known and accepted? My dad was very pro-education. He expected us to go to college and have careers, but there was an underlying message to me that my career choice was not as important as my brothers’ and I should consider a career that would be secondary to my husband’s. “You should get an education incase you get a divorce” was the typical advice of the day. Of course, you were not suppose to get a divorce, but if you did…another mixed message.

The women’s movement put lots of pressure on us girls to get and education and to go to work. We were suddenly guilt ridden if we stayed home and raised kids. We were told we could do it all - have it all. It was presented as a great and marvelous thing - working, being a wife and raising children. “You can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let him forget he’s a man, ‘cause you’re a woman!”

This is where I get offensive. I bought in to this way of life for a long time. I got my college degree with one husband and two children at my graduation. Two weeks after graduation, we moved to McAllen, TX. I got a job teaching high school in Mission. I dropped my babies off at daycare before 8 AM and picked them up before 5 PM. I was a good wife and mother keeping a clean house and making it all work the best I could. Even while I was doing what all mothers did, I had that nagging feeling of, “Who is raising my children?” and “Do I really want this public school for my kids?” You can go back and read about my decision to home school, but that was the turning point in raising our children. I finally gave up trying to raise other people’s kids with little to no success and decided to take care of the two children that God gave me. It was a big step, and it was met with lots of opposition. Surprisingly, that opposition did not come from my dad. But hey, I was told I could do and be what ever I wanted, and this was what I wanted.

In educating and raising our children at home, we could meet their individual needs much more easily. We could explore their different interests. Jesse wanted to be a pilot. My thought at the time was that she would make a great pilot - how cool it would be if she were a female fighter pilot or helicopter pilot, and yet, there were those thoughts of “is that really what I want for my daughter?” On her eleventh birthday, we surprised her with an airplane ride from Taos up the Rio Grande, over our house and into the Rockies over the high mountain lakes and back. She could not see out very well and got a little sick although she did not throw-up. She was a little disheartened with flying, but continued to love airplanes and read about them.

It was during the early home schooling days that our family began to change. We became more conservative and quit voting for Democrats (thanks Mr. Clinton). Christian homeschooling organizations were also an influence as well as our church. We had some pretty radical thoughts on raising children, and once again, our decisions were met with opposition from friends and family. But understand, the decisions we made concerning our kids were always discussed with our children and our children were agreeable. We didn’t really know how these radical decisions would work out, but we committed our selves to them.

One of these decisions was to raise our daughter to be a wife and mother and to protect and guard her carefully until that time. There were similar decisions in raising Bo, but I will keep my thoughts on Jes for now. That may not seem so radical, but let me tell you, it really throws people if you say it out loud. Even though the majority of girls grow up to be wives and mother’s, it is no longer politically correct to let that be your ultimate goal and teach you daughter how best to be a wife and mother. It is also not PC to protect your daughter as we have, but good grief the thought of turning her loose before she was able to take care of herself seemed even more offensive. I think this is one of the biggest problems for young ladies today. They have been taught to be career women and all that goes with that, but they are sorely lacking in knowing how to love a husband and meet his needs much less those of their children. Then when they try to have both a career and family, they are not prepared, they are guilt ridden about their short-comings, but they continue on because that is the way things are done today.

Now, let me say that I have nothing against women having a career or working. I realize that some women choose that lifestyle and others have to work and raise kids. But the best way, the ideal way, is to choose one or the other - be a wife and mother or be a career woman. The “women’s libber” in me is still strong. I believe in equal pay for equal work. I believe women should be taught to do all sorts of things and choose their way. I believe education is very important for women as well as men. I know how strong women are and that they able to do many things a man can do. If that is what they choose, more power to them. But, if they choose to be a wife and mother, I would rather them not sacrifice the raising of their children turning them over to the government to raise.

As for the women in the military, I see nothing wrong with women choosing to serve their country, but this is a decision much like marriage for a woman. You are no longer your own person, but you belong to the USA. If you choose that, go all guns! But I got a real problem with women who choose a husband, military, and children. You cannot serve three masters. Someone is going to be neglected. If Jesse were to make a choice for the military, and she would be great at it, I would expect her to not get married and have children during her military career. I also have some thoughts about women serving in combat situations. That just seems wrong on some level. I know there are women who are capable of doing it, but that does not make it right. For all our equality training in this world, I don’t think everyone is really ready for men and women serving in the foxhole together. You may know of incidents where it has worked perfectly well. I know of incidents where it has not. If men and women can serve together on the battlefield, what is the argument against gays in the military?

I have raised my daughter to know she is capable of doing anything, but her life is not her own. She is strong and courageous, she is smart and educated. She has held a job at a major company. She has jumped out of airplanes, rock climbed, scuba dived, para-sailed, and traveled. Some day she will be excellent wife because she has been trained in all areas, and because she wants to be a wife. Someday, she may get her pilots license or she may be an engineer building things. My uncle once asked me why Jesse was not a pilot. I told him that I had raised her to be the wife of a pilot or the mother of a pilot. Is that not just as important in life?


Shelly said...

I went over and read Requiem.. It was a nice change to see a father's view of raising a daughter. I also see your view. I have only had a son, so I don't really know what I would have done, all I can base it on is how I was raised and how I raised my son. I do know that I wanted to make sure my son respected women, I am appalled of his generation and how they treat women. As for your daughter, through your blog Jes seems like she had a wonderful upbringing and is turning out great..I do know that is due to her parents...

Bag Blog said...

Thanks Shelly. I probably sound like a prideful parent. But hey, she is great. Some of that her father and I and some of it is just her. Her brother is just pretty wonderful too. I just tend to talk more about Jes because she is still mine.

Dale said...

Wow, you got more of your father in you then you might think, and that is a GREAT thing.

My wife and I have raised 3 fine young men and two of them are in the process of raising our grandchildren. We have raised them to know that God is first, with your family as their #1 priority. I'm not saying that we have done everything right, but the results have been outstanding. We raised them to respect others but protect their family at all cost. Just like with you Lou, we were not always agreed with when it came to raising our boys, but you can't argue the success that we have had.

My son asked me one time what he could ever do to pay his mother and me back for all of our sacrifices and I told him to just do the same for my grandchildren. Girls, well as I have told everyone I know there is a reason God didn't bless us with a "Daddy's Girl". I would have been like puddy and my grand-daughter is proving that to be very true.

Laurie said...

I don't find this offensive, Lou, but it is a bit different than the norm.

Buck Pennington said...

Wow. You had a lot to say and said it well, Lou. I honestly have no idea how a girl-child would have been raised, had I been lucky enough to have one with The First Mrs. Pennington. I can only say I'm oh-so-glad TSMP and I had a son. I shudder to think what sort of woman would emerge from the type of household SN3 lives in. And I worry about him, too. Quite another story, that.

Back to the subject at hand: there's much truth in that ol' "The proof is in the pudding" saying. I'd say your recipe was good and you followed it with care and attention to detail.

Bag Blog said...

Dale, Sometimes I am so much like Dad, it scares me. Sometimes I am so much like Mom, it scares Toby.

Buck, If your grand-daughters are any proof how your daughter (had you had one) would have turned out, then I think you would have had great girls, because you have great sons.

Jenny said...

Wow, this gives me something to really think about. I stay home with my 4 children, and although when I was pregnant with the first I had planned on working, plans didn't turn out that way and I'm SO glad they went the way they did! Love being the mommy! I'm not the greatest one, and I'm far from being a great wife. But I'm trying.

But I never thought about the way I was raising my daughters like that. Part of me wants them to grow up and do anything they want to do. But who will raise my grandchildren? You can't have it all, even if you try, because something will be lacking despite of it. I guess I hope they plan on having a career before the kids, maybe after the kids are grown, but plan on being the mommy the children need at home.

Bag Blog said...

Jenny, raising girls is tough. Most people think you can have it all, but not really. I love it that you are raising your children and being a mommy - it is truly laying down your life for the ones you love. And it is not a bad thing to teach your girls.

Shay said...

I am a few days late to this but thought I would say hey...

You did cover so much in all of this that it is quit surprising that there were not much more comments.

I am just here to say a few words... As You know I spent much time in the Army. I just got back this year from being overseas for about four years and so I have seen the effects of gender and sexuality in the Military.

Everyone has their rolls and fortunately most are able to maintain their professionalism. It is quit unfortunate how much negativity that has come out of all of this subject. I do want to give credit to the women that have played great rolls in the military. They helped to develop and really allow our armed forces to evolve in so many ways that may not have been without them.

In so many ways you all have my respect.