My wife and I recently took a well needed, long weekend vacation – without kids . It had been many years since we took time off together. I’ve heard of people who do this kinda stuff regularly, but don’t think I’ve actually met anyone. The trip was instigated by a kind friend who has repeatedly encouraged us to give effort toward not growing apart. Wise and hard-earned advise. Without our kids, the first several hours “alone” almost seemed awkward. It occurred to me that typically so much of our time is talking about what the kids have done, are doing, or are going to do. We’ve done a “night out” on occasions, however, those nights are typically taken up with whatever urgent matters filled the day and talking about the kids. Having several days alone together was really a nice change of pace and opportunity to reconnect. We didn’t even have to use the “conversation cards” that our friend gave us.
During the course of our vacation, we both also did a lot of reading, at least compared to the snippets we typically sneak in while on family vacations. I started reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. He brings to life the intrigues of royal court (in a fantasy genre). He’s an excellent story-teller and developer of characters. (It’s by no means a homeschooling book nor appropriate for family reading as the narrative is occasionally course and explicit.) The story places a heavy emphasis on royal families and their maneuverings. The women of the families play key roles, particularly the queens. Affairs of family and of state largely overlap.
At some point, not too far into the novel, it occurred to me how at all levels of the story, from the peasant to the noble, the family was the basic operating or building block of the society, which is essentially the agrarian, pre-modern society. Family came first and nearly everything orbited around the family. How odd in comparison to our times, where families are fractured and spread across miles and even states. Families don’t work together very often and it’s quite atypical for a mother to actually work for her own family. To the contrary, to the liberalized western eye, it is sometimes used as a term of condescension to refer to someone as a “house wife,” ie someone whose business is the affairs of her family. Although it’s contrary to thousands of years of societal history, we are quite often proud when we send our wives and mothers to work for someone else, to help another person profit. Strange times.
This historical oddity of sending our wives and mothers to work for others is the direct result of “liberation.” Since woman may and can compete evenly with men in commerce, we conclude that they ought to value working for others more highly than working for their own families. That reminds me of another questionable fruit of gender liberalization – abortion and how we view birth control. While abortion is an ongoing moral tragedy, birth control is a mixed bag. I heard Doug Phillips say some time ago that the Bible teaches children are a blessing from the Lord and that debt is a curse to be avoided. In our modern culture, we work to prevent such blessings while we apply for the curses! In any event, while woman have certainly made huge advances over the past half-century in the West for the right to equal treatment under the law, we have gone further and lost at least some of what was once such a valued and proud part of womanhood — being the foundation of the family. We should not now be surprised at the pathologies that now plague the modern family.