Sep 10, 2016

Off-site Highlights: Husbands, Fathers, and Sons

(Compiled by Anna)

This focus of this blog is on feminine vocations, but we wouldn't be sisters, daughters, mothers, and wives without our brothers, fathers, husbands, and sons.

As always, I don't necessarily endorse every point the different authors make, but I found these links thought-provoking and helpful.

1. Fathers actually have more influence than mothers do over children's future relationship with church. What does that mean for us as families?

Dads Being Dads by Joe Olson (Lutheran Witness)
We know that the vocation of fatherhood matters. But are we willing to accept how much it matters? Are we willing to accept that by God’s design the deliverance of the faith from one generation to the next depends on fathers more than on anyone else? More.

2. We don't always remember to recognize the sacrifices of the guy who works hard so that his wife can stay at home.

A Letter to my Breadwinner Husband by Suzanne Venker
It is the steady breadwinner husband, men like you, who allow women like me to live such comfortable lives. 
It is because of your willingness to work full time, year round—with no freedom to tell your boss “I quit!” and with no sabbatical to think about what other things you’d like to do with your life, and with no ability to have time just for you smack in the middle of a workweek that my life, and our kids’ lives, are as wonderful as they are. More.

3. This piece is sad but beautiful. 

Our Love Story Has Taught Us Not To Take Marriage For Granted by Judi Sheeks
My husband’s illness robbed me not only of the strong man I had leaned on for all of our married life, but also of the little things I had somehow taken for granted. More

4. My own son is still very young, but I found this post encouraging.  

The Unexpected Joy of a Grown Son, or, The Waiting is the Hardest Part By Angelina Stanford
Parenting has got to be the biggest act of faith a person can take.  You pour yourself into these young souls, knowing that you won’t see the fruit of that labor until well past the time that you can fix it. In faith you plant those seeds and you water them and you try to provide the most nourishing soil you can, but in the end you can only pray and wait to see what kind of plant will grow. And sometimes, the hardest part of the waiting is when that sprout first begins to show. You see something there, but it sure does look like a weed. More.

5. We've all known macho jerks. Yet we also recognize the need to teach our sons about masculinity, strength, self-sacrifice, and courage. In order to do so, it's important to recognize how difficult our world makes it to pursue those virtues, and how essential it is that we recognize the reality of our children's bodies as well as their intellect. 

Men Are Getting Weaker — because We’re Not Raising Men by David French
Our culture strips its young men of their created purpose and then wonders why they struggle. It wonders why men — who are built to be distinctive from women — flail in modern schools and workplaces designed from the ground-up for the feminine experience. Men were meant to be strong. Yet we excuse and enable their weakness. It’s but one marker of cultural decay, to be sure, but it’s a telling marker indeed. There is no virtue in physical decline. More.

You can read another, related post by a Lutheran here (note: language).

6. Looking for good books with which to nourish your sons? These lists may be helpful. 

7. During my teen years, a lot of Christian kids received "purity rings," and books like Joshua Harris' I Kissed Dating Goodbye were popular. Lately I've heard about a significant backlash. We shouldn't rush to brand all efforts to approach romance with integrity as legalism, but we can see ways in which the purity movement led to unintended results. This piece provides some very interesting analyses about the evangelical world of that era.

Purity as Branding in the Evangelical Sub-Culture by Jake Meador
Far more common [than controlling, cultist churches who used anti-dating books to control youth] is the sort of church where the virtue, though affirmed and encouraged, is still mediated through the language of branding. This in itself still poses an enormous danger to the actual virtue of chastity because it inculcates in the members of the community a way of thinking about virtue that is fundamentally about self-construction, self-presentation, and that establishes an essentially commercial grammar for thinking about membership in the group. 
This necessarily will over time erode the foundations of the actual virtue, leaving behind only the external manifestation of it as a brand that is desirable within a sub-culture. . . . . 
True chastity is not necessarily something that can be easily advertised or announced and it is certainly not a thing that can be easily commodified for establishing group identification in a commercially identifiable sub-culture. Modesty, on the other hand, can be commodified in such ways—and given the commercial incentive to do so, it inevitably would. Once chastity is reduced to modesty, one (comparatively small) external aspect of the virtue, then the brand needed to belong to the group now exists apart from the actual virtue the group wishes to teach its young people. You have the appearance, but not the internal reality. This is the sort of Christian practice many young people grew up with—internal realities occasionally existed but the main thing we were pushed toward was the appearance of godliness. More.

On-topic from our archives:

Dealing with the Nuts and Bolts of Sibling Conflict by Drusha Mussmann (in this piece my mother-in-law, the mother of seven--including four sons--talks about handling conflict among her kids in a boy-friendly way).

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