Saturday, February 16, 2008

Smart Women, Small Families?


Perhaps I am overstepping my bounds here; but it seems to me that it is healthy for society as a whole for the more intelligent Christian women, the ones who would make the best home educators and produce intelligent, well-behaved (as far as sinners can be well-behaved), and thoroughly Christian children, to have the largest families.

I realize I am throwing sand into the wind here, and some of it is bound to fly back into my face. I mean no insult to Christian women of average or lower than average intelligence, we will all be present in the Lord one day. We can all, by following the Bible's leading, produce well-behaved, thoroughly Christian children. However, to build a working Christian society we need as many intelligent, well-behaved, thoroughly Christian people as we can produce.

Feminism has influenced the options held out to young Christian women of high intelligence. In a Christian school that I am particularly familiar with the career of wife and mother was never once held out as an option for the girls, especially those who maintained straight A's and scored highly on standardized tests. The array of colleges and careers was paraded in front of them as if that was all there was for them to consider. And consider them they did; following through even unto grad school.

But then what? Do these young ladies enjoy a plethora of marriage offers or a plethora of job offers? The latter, I am afraid. But that's good, some of you are saying. They may have to contribute to their family's support one day; they may need the intellectual stimulation of a career; the economy is going to the dogs (no insult to canines intended); divorce is endemic, even in the Christian community, so they must be prepared for self-support.

And that's it. The same old arguments that imply that Christians must adhere to the standards that others, in this case, feminists, hold up. Seldom does one see encouragement to build society in the most foundational of ways. Even the available young men act as if these girls are Vestal Virgins; untouchable for three periods of ten years each, ten as student, ten in service, then ten as teachers. In Roman tradition, after that the Vestal Virgins could marry.

But thirty years down the road, when careers are fully developed and a woman might be willing to be married, her body may not be willing to give her even one of the desired children.

So what is the alternative? Does the intelligent Christian girl swear off family life for the feminist virgin model?

I say no to the dedication of these girls to a lifetime of sacrifice to the model of this world. At some point Christians must realize that they cut off the life of their own community when they keep fine young women from considering marriage and family as a primary occupation. The management of the household and the education of its children are a challenging field and must be addressed within Christian education, both in homeschools and Christian schools. And our brain trust children, male and female, should be introduced to each other and encouraged at least to get to know each other. With God's good grace and providence, love could take hold, marriages take place, and God's Kingdom on earth be promoted.

After all, we pray "Thy Kingdom come"; let us act in concert with our prayer.

8 comments:

LM said...

I cannot tell you how stupid/foolish/"appalachian" I felt, as a forty-three year old graying woman about to give birth to my tenth child (who, by the way, shares maternal and paternal DNA with all siblings). A forty-three yer-old woman who had left a service academy to "have a large family for the glory of God," snort, chuckle. Our society brought all to bear - our trained fear and dislike of being perceived as "not smart" - in knee-quivering lucidness during that waddling last trimester....
Thank GOD for His many "tokens for good" - much as given to Jesus' own mother during HER socially incorrect gestation - to call to mind, to comfort, to witness to my own children that God is yet intimately involved with the details...

ehud would said...

Women who postpone marriage wind up greatly limiting the pool of possible mates. Many are the thirty-something aged women who, after acheiving "career goals", find themselves with a dearth of marital options.

This also results in a problem for their prospective husbands who will naturally have greater trepidation about involvement with what they will perceive as an "assertive-type".

The delayed marriage scenario may secure a better financial future but it seems to be a net loss in every other way.

Laurel1861 said...

Hi, LM!

I can see how you must have felt; I, however, feel better knowing that you have populated the world with ten fine young Christian people.

The career-centric folks operate under their own assumptions. I still remember, twenty-something years later, the way colleagues of my then-husband would speak to me veeerrryyy ssslllooowwyy, as if I was stupid, when I was pregnant and told them I was planning to stay home with my child for a few years.

It hurts to be considered something less (although I never felt Appalachian was a term of derision) than you know you are. But God is indeed intimately involved with the details...

God bless,
Laurel

Laurel1861 said...

Ehud,

You are very right about the reduction in the pool of possible mates.

The sad thing I have seen among young people, and I see loads of young people on a daily basis, is the tendency for the young men not to approach the intelligent young women in a romantic fashion. They seem to be more comfortable with someone who might be less intelligent than they are. So our lovely young women with good brains go unappreciated, and a career seems the only option to many of them.

I remember being told when I was young that I shouldn't show my brains when the young men were around, but defer to their intellects (such as the intellects of sixteen year olds are). Needless to say, this rankled a bit. But is there something in the idea that men seem less interested in women with brains? Is it the fear of their assertiveness, if they have it?

Oh, the mysteries of the ways of a man and a maid...

God bless,
Laurel

LM said...

>>The sad thing I have seen among young people, and I see loads of young people on a daily basis, is the tendency for the young men not to approach the intelligent young women in a romantic fashion. They seem to be more comfortable with someone who might be less intelligent than they are.<<

In general, it is a good thing for a woman to marry a man who is "smarter" than she is - not necessarily someone with a higher IQ, but a can-do man she can respect and rely on. It makes "the long haul" a bit easier, I think.

And "brains" is not what is important to most young men seeking a mate. Being an empathetically companionable and compatible homemaking mother to his children is more important, and, I believe, should be. Too bad this "compatibility" is exactly what years in a competitive "equalitarian" college atmosphere steals from a young woman.

LM said...

Clarification:

I did not mean to insult the great Appalachian folk - those who have preserved a way of life, a faith in the God of The Book, and not mixed with the world indescriminantly; rather I was describing our society's opinion of mothers of more than 1.4 in general...

Laurel1861 said...

"And "brains" is not what is important to most young men seeking a mate. Being an empathetically companionable and compatible homemaking mother to his children is more important, and, I believe, should be. Too bad this "compatibility" is exactly what years in a competitive "equalitarian" college atmosphere steals from a young woman."

Well, at least you weren't saying that other portions of the female anatomy were what was important to young men seeking a mate...LOL...

Even at colleges you can see the differential between the Honors College girls and the "Hansen Dorm" girls (name of dorm changed to protect the college). The Honors College girls work like little drones to keep up; the Hansen Dorm girls hang out of the dorm windows to flirt when the boys drive by...

and drive by they do, but not by the Honors College dorm...

God bless,
Laurel

LM said...

>>Well, at least you weren't saying that other portions of the female anatomy were what was important to young men seeking a mate...LOL...<<

Ah, yes, the difference between seeking A mate, and seeking TO mate...