Wednesday, November 07, 2007
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?