Family Thrives

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NIV

The seasons have changed and it is the time of year to pull and trim the dying plants, and put the gardens to bed for the winter. Trees are beginning to drop their leaves as full color moves across the landscape from the north to the south of the northern hemispheres. Soon one of our favorite holidays will be here with costumes from creepy to fun, and ghosts and goblins from scary to cute in all shapes and sizes. Pumpkins and gourds will join leaves to adorn doorsteps and tables, and families and friends will join for parties and the door-to-door adventures of trick-or-treat. Then with our larders full, and the temperatures dropping, we will rush to get the leaves gathered, mulch our trees and shrubs, and settle down for winter and our garden catalogs to plan the next spring of plantings.

As I worked in the garden preparing my beds for winter, I thought of my children and how we all worked together to prepare the yard for the winter. Yes, it was yard work, but we were all working together, making a game of our chores when we could. The littlest ones would be dragged around with piles of leaves, getting a ride, and once we completely lost a child in the pile, until he decided to show himself. We would chant “The big fat peanut,” as we dragged the leaves back to the mulch pile. These little things are still being done today by my children, now with their own children.

I was thinking about these things, in part, because I had just read a blog by Muliebral Viewpoint reviewing a Phyllis Schlafly book blaming feminists, the courts, and liberal government for killing the American nuclear family. As I sat down to write, I noticed another post by guest writer Michael M. McConaughey on his book on the blog of Harsh Reality, otherwise know as an opinionated man. McConaughey blames feminism, the courts, and politics for blindly following a liberal agenda without regard for the facts of a situation.

While I can agree there have been struggles, even disagreements, in achieving the right of self-determination and equality for women, I do not agree that there has been a systematic and organized destruction of the rights of men and the destruction of the nuclear family.   Are things different between the choices my mother had, and the choices my daughter have?  Yes, and I am glad for that, but I, as the mother of three sons,  would not want them to lose the right of self- determination and equality either.

I am a Sci-Fi fan, and when I was in my thirties I had an amazing dream about being a man, leading a space armada and saving a planet. As my reward I was offered the hand of the queen of the planet in marriage. I accepted. Isn’t this every man’s fantasy. As my luck would have it, this did not make me a ruler. No! This made me the queen’s eye candy at official functions, and a baby maker, and that was all. Nobody cared what I thought, or that I had saved the entire planet.

Women still don’t receive equal pay for equal work, but the gap is narrowing. There is still a glass ceiling for women in business and politics, but not for much longer, as the lists of firsts grow ever longer, though a true balance is a long time coming. I’ve seen some progress for those of you who might consider yourselves masculinists also. I have seen   changing stations in some men’s rooms. On television the images of men involved as good caretakers and role models abound. Studies show men are putting in more hours with their children.  To me, this sounds like proof of a stronger family.

Looking at my  family, we have added two members, due to two weddings forming two new family units added to the extended family. In addition, by Christmas this year, we will add a new baby to the family.

Divorce is rare within my extended family, and the entire family has come together in support of their children, while the parents have worked together to care for their children, even though they live in separate states. One woman in our extended family is raising children on her own, with the help of her extended family, after the father exited the situation, with the help and support of the extended family.

I am proud of the way my family has pulled together to support and help each other in times of need. I am proud of the way the family has grown strong and flourished. I don’t believe ours is the only family to grow and flourish in a time of social change, that brought women greater equality to men in the workplace, and men closer to their children in the home. This makes our families stronger not weaker.

Some of the old had to die, and the birth pains of the new can be difficult.  But if men and women work together to care for their families and do what is best for them, the American family will be stronger for it.

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