Monday, November 19, 2007

Dedicated Daughters: the opposing forces

Like I said in Part 1, 'what's a daughter to do?' shouldn't be a very difficult question for a home-dedicated maiden. But there's a reason why the subtitle to this series subtitle is, "Encouragement for the home-focused young woman in an unsupportive environment".

To my happiness, I believe I have reason to think the godly culture of family and home is now reclaimed. A lot is said about the importance of family unity, and especially about the father-daughter relationship – and all of this I can only strengthen and confirm.

However, let's face the facts: a considerable number of young women aren't protected by their fathers today. Many don't even know their fathers. Those ladies face a special challenge, and it is my purpose in writing this to humbly try and encourage them in their journey of seeking to live a godly life even if their father is absent or doesn't use his authority the way he is supposed to. I do not live in a rosy imaginary world; I'm very aware of the fact that these days, many young women are forced to fend for themselves; many of them are hardened and bruised, and reach marriage without the blissful, home-focused contentment they might have cultivated before they were pushed into colleges and the work force.

It seems as though everyone have made their goal to try and steal our hearts away from what should be our focus: not only the mainstream culture around us, but often also our friends and most importantly, parents; we are bombarded with temptations and expectations, pressure and pleading to do what's considered normal today: move out; go to college; pursue a time-consuming, competitive career. As a fresh college graduate, I feel I simply must say more than a few words about the dangers of this path.

Sure, many young women today think of nothing but college and career. But many others feel uncomfortable about being away from their parents for long years, acquiring a large debt through student loans, and emerging with a baggage of knowledge which is often useless and even sinful – after working so hard in college. Many understand that what feminism has to offer us isn't all roses, and seek other alternatives to develop their intelligence, creativity and skills.

Am I saying college is always evil? Nope. Did I suffer constantly in college? Again, no. Have I been able to grow towards serving my family and towards God's calling? Have I gained important skills? Yes, but I can truly and wholeheartedly say it happened more despite than thanks to my college education.

Our Public Health class was taught by a die-hard feminist who was an ardent believer in zero population growth, and considered China with its one child limit and forced abortions the optimal model of public health care system. At least I must give credit to her consistency – she also claimed abortions don't hurt women. When I approached her during the break and asked if she knows anyone who has gone through an abortion, and how can anyone claim this has no long-term effects on the woman's physical and emotional well-being, she made an attempt to hush me up by saying that studies were made, and proved that 'overall, on a general scale, abortions only cause a short-term discomfort and there's no scientific proof that women who went through abortions suffer for a long time later on.'

Should I even make further comments on this one? I hardly passed her course. I didn't expect anything else, after I failed to write an essay about how having many children destroys women's lives. Do you think that's just an extreme example? No; this is a typical picture of what is happening in a secular college. The propaganda is enormous. The destructive agenda that is pushed on us has ruined many lives. I believe young women and their parents should make informed choices.

Again and again I ask myself: is college today an appropriate place for a young lady? I don't want to be judgmental. I won't say "yes" or "no"; I simply tell the facts of my own experience.

Do I realize that sometimes, a daughter who doesn't wish to rebel against her parents' wishes, no matter how radically contradicting they are in comparison to her own, must go to college or work outside the home? Yes, I do. In fact, I'm firmly convinced that the way towards our noble goal cannot and should not be achieved through rebellion. I will talk about it more elaborately later on.

* Stay tuned for the next post in the series: "You are not alone"; coming, hopefully, sometime later next week.

17 comments:

Andrea said...

Anna, the story about your professor bothered me a great deal (on your behalf!) Aside from the obvious problems with the beliefs she held, I am concerned as an academic that she seems to have favoured a personal agenda over objectivity in her teaching. I know that at my school we had to work much harder to respect for such professors, the ones who let their own agenda boil over into their teachings; fortunately we never actually encountered a professor who completely shut us down for what we believed. I remember receiving lovely responses from one professor about a paper I wrote comparing two Old English poems and the way in which each demonstrated the poet's relationship with God, and how much more attractive the living, real relationship appeared in comparison to dry ritual for ritual's sake. Also, one of the highest grades I received from one history professor was on the beauties of homemaking; he was very complimentary!

Really, I truly don't believe I would have found such a polite and respectful forum for voicing my own beliefs if my professors had not so values the opinions of each scholar, and their respect for my beliefs was one of God's greatest blessings to me in my university years.

Your point is one I think every lady who is, for whatever reason, considering college would do well to examine. I don't believe post secondary education is for everybody, just as I don't believe eschewing it entirely would benefit everybody; God has made us all with such unique personalities that to lump us into too small a box means we run the risk of crippling His goal for each of our lives. I think a young lady's college experience can truly further her relationship with God as well as increase her ministry field if it's truly what He plans for her, but I think that it can also be extremely detrimental to the same fields if it's not what God meant for her to do (as some of your commentors have already observed).

Personally, I'm currently seeking His will about something I believe He showed me over a year ago now; the possibility of further studies, maybe a Master's degree, in Ancient Hebrew and Greek, with some studies in the ancient cultures of each. I would leap at the chance to read some of the earlier-discovered Scriptures in their original language, but I want first to make sure it's where God is leading me (He keeps bringing it up, so I finally buckled down to ask Him what it meant!) It's one of the real beauties about following Him, isn't it? Nothing ever stays the same for very long!

I can't wait to hear what you share with us next :)

Coffee Catholic said...

Dear Anna,
I was just blogging about a similar topic and I pointed out that we women are told to be in college and establishing our careers during our peak fertility years! That's not exactly what you are saying here but it ties in.

Another thing that ties in with your post: why are we women not told that it's ok to delay *college* and have kids first while we are at our peak fertility and energy?! Why are we constantly told to rush off to college and career when we are at our very best ages for having and raising kids?

Why is it that we do not hear about going to college and career *after* we've had and raised our children?

You and I are coming at this problem from both ends - you in your early twenties, me in my early thirties. There is so much that people are NOT telling us women!

Coffee Catholic said...

Regarding the supposed "lack" of scientific proof about long-term suffering from abortions:

http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/

These folk are the perfect ones to ask about such things seeing as how their work is that of dealing with the "invisible" women who must hide their grief and suffering after having abortions.

A good book: "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion is considered a definitive work on the study of traumatic reactions following abortion."

Of *course* you are not going to hear about the scientific proof (it's there) of long-term suffering from abortions: Abortion is a big money-making industry! It's not about helping women - it's about money, money, money. We women *must* be lied to in order to keep the abortions (and thus the money) rolling in!

Here is a good link for clinical articles about the traumas of abortion:

http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/resources/clinical-articles.htm

Here are some tid-bits:

"Women need more mental health treatment after abortion, new study finds."

"New Zealand Study on Mental Health Problems May Force
Doctors to Refuse Abortions."

"Sleep disorders increase after abortin."

"Abortion and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."

"Abortion and Depression" (parts one and two)

So...tell me again that there is no scientific proof of long-term suffering after abortion? What a myth!

If we honestly desire to know the *truth* about abortion, the information is out there. Sadly we have to go and find it ourselves because at $300 - $500 a pop, abortions are big business and no abortionist wants to stop the bucks from rolling in.

Ladies, I suggest we be truly "Pro-Choice" meaning that we allow women to actually *choose* by knowing *all* sides of the abortion story. Let's end the Choice Farce because: No Options = No Choice. Don't let yourselves be lied to any longer.

Gothelittle Rose said...

Oh, I remember those lib arts courses.

I was a troublemaker. My mother's-side ability to see the story behind the story combined with my father's dry wit and the writing skills I learned from both parents. I recently found my little archive of college lib arts papers. I surprised myself, reading them years later!

For my last literature paper, for the final, I filled something like eight pages on an exposition, taking cues from the works we were told to read, on equality through education. My bent was that we could ensure that every profession from doctor to janitor could be made to require the same college degree by padding the shorter degrees with humanities courses, also ensuring extra reinforcement of liberal philosophies among the 'common man' who were so stupid they might just live the way that worked best for them.

I loved my associate's degree courses. They focused heavily on computer programming, tossing a couple 'be-well-rounded' courses out that I survived ok. Two such courses made up my entire four-semester degree. My last two years for my bachelor's was quite different. There, it was two to three of such courses per semester for a total of at least four to five times more liberal-indoctrination classes than I had in my first two years. The teachers at the university were even more rabidly liberal than the teachers at the community college.

Luckily for me, the lit teacher for THAT course mistook rebellion for liberalism and gave me a good grade for the course.

Anonymous said...

Whoa!! You barely passed that Public Health class? I think I would have been nervous every day about meeting that woman face to face. I applaud you for keeping your wits about you, & maintaining your position on larger families.

Eager to read the next installment of your series....

Brenda

Brenda said...

Do you mean to tell me...that essay that you refused to write was the assignment?????

I really enjoyed this post. Especially in light of my post yesterday where I looked back at my life 20 years ago. I did exactly what was expected of me.
Now, how to change those expectations for my daughters?

Anonymous said...

I am a fairly regular reader of your blog. And while if we had a discussion I think we probably disagree on many points, I respect and encourage your choice. Particularly because, you seem to have made them in a clear-headed, thoughtful way.
I have to say, your public health teacher was appaling. The Chinese policy of one child is the most unfeminist thing ever. Good job standing behind your principles.

-Erin the Librarian

Terry said...

While I would never rule college out for my girls, we are definitely committed to the plan that if they attend college, they will do so while living at home. It greatly reduces a lot of the negative influences that are typical on most college campuses. I think it did in my case. There are many alternatives to the packing up and shipping off our kids. Community colleges tend to have more mature students, many of whom have jobs and families and are therefore not interested in the party lifestyle. I started out at one and had a great experience. You can even get a degree online if you're a good independent student. Of course, there will always be the issue of professors whose positions oppose traditional Biblical values but I believe these ideas can be effectively muted when a student is coming home to a loving family everyday rather than going home to an out of control dormitory.

Anna S said...

Michelle,

You are absolutely right - we are tricked to waste our best years on things that won't make us happy in the long run!

Terry,

I agree with you, and will touch upon this subject in the last post in this series.

Haus Frau said...

It is the general belief of both sides of our family that our daughter should go off to college, earn her degree, seriously consider a masters because she should *really* make something of herself, live on her own, work and travel - before even considering settling down to marriage - if at all.

They were shocked to learn, long ago, that we chose to homeschool our daughter, and that now she's taking college courses primarily via the internet, and gasp, from a **Bible college**. What good can *that* possibly do her in the corporate world?! They consider it sad that she's marriage minded rather than career minded, inferring that she's wasting her life.

My daughter is a *lady* with a good head on her shoulders. She has a God honoring plan in the works and is depending on Him for any twists and turns the path may yield. She loves living at home. She loves having her folks with her (gasp!) yet still enjoying getting together with dear friends who are like-minded.

The cousins are all in or done with college, are loose in their morals and beliefs, are *not* marriage minded save for one who recently announced her engagement to her long-time live-in 'boy'friend, and look at life with a 'whatever' attitude.

I ask you - who has the better outlook on life?

As to lady-like behaviors...have you noticed that many women of a mature age (40+) attempt to appear half their age and 'show their wares' with seemingly nary a thought? I'm talking Christian women here, Anna. I don't appreciate when women dress to entice and show their br*asts. It stumbles their brothers in Christ and is unbecoming a lady, in my humble opinion. While it's not necessary to wear a burqua, it would be so appreciated if they'd cover up and be respectable. Knowwhatimean?

Oh...I *did* get your email. Thank you. :o) I've no idea what happened to my post concerning voting - lost in space I assume.

Blessings...

Kristy Howard said...

My parents were very often criticized while my sister, brother and I were in our teen years because my dad does not favor a young girl going off to secular college and pursuing a career. I've heard all the questions at least a hundred times each: "How will your kids function in the REAL WORLD if they don't go to college?" and "What if your daughters become widows and don't have a career to 'fall back' on?", etc, etc. My siblings and I did attend a conservative Bible College in Missouri, an experience which strengthened our faith not undermined it. The IRONIC part is that the daughters of the families who criticized my parents so badly have their great education, degrees and careers... and one is divorced (after barely 4 yrs of marriage) and the other 2 are pushing 30 and still unmarried. Is THAT the "real world"? If so, then no thanks. At 26 years old, I happen to enjoy my husband, children and home.

~Kristy

neuropoet3 said...

The trauma of abortion is all too real - and anyone who doesn't believe there's proof of it has never met a girl who had one. I have two cousins who went through this. One was forced into it by her mother, and her life has been a mess every since. She immediately went out and got pregant again, had a daughter, and then drank and drugged for years. Her daughter was even taken away by the state at one point - her life has been one terrible nightmare ever since that first abortion. What strikes me as odd is that no one in her immediate family realizes the obvious connection between her disasterous decisions and the trauma of the abortion. She's been "medicating" herself in one way or another for almost 10 years now.

My other cousin was forced into an abortion by her fiance at the time. She was/is a good Christian girl who made the wrong choice in who to date -and since she was barely 16 I really thought her parents should have been more involved. We were very close and it was traumatic for me to see her go through it - let alone what it was like for her. Her fiance said he would leave her if she didn't have the abortion, and then went so far as to take her to his family's house and keep her there until she agreed. No one was allowed to call her or go see her - it was awful. She didn't give in until she was about 4 months along (after her mother started pressuring her as well) - and talk about traumatic. She bled for 80 days afterwards - and her emotional pain was very real. Thankfully I was able to pray with her when she was finally "released" to the outside world again, and help comfort her. Of course, her fiance left her anyway - but I was thankful for that. A year later she met a godly yuoung man and they were eventually married. They had three babies right in a row (not uncommon for a woman who has had an abortion - they want to re-do things the right way - if they can get pregnant). After her third baby she began working with a crisis pregnancy center and went through a program for healing from abortion. Now she runs abortion healing groups, and she put together a garden/memorial center for women in her area to use as a place to remember their aborted or miscarried babies. It is wonderful to see God bring good out of her nightmare - she even named her aborted baby and bought him a marker for the memorial garden.

Anyway, I didn't mean to make my comment so long - it's just that this issue is really close to my heart. Add to that the fact that the doctors wanted my husband aborted when his mother was pregnant with him (he was supposedly going to be blind, retarded and crippled - which he is nothing of the kind) - and you can understand why I am rabidly pro-life. I don't understand why people still believe the abortion issue is related to "choice" at all. I've never met a woman who went through that kind of trauma that felt she had a choice...

Laura said...

"The trauma of abortion is all too real - and anyone who doesn't believe there's proof of it has never met a girl who had one. "

Well I won't say that. I have met women who were content in their choice to have an abortion.

I think in order to reduce the abortion we need to look at the cause- mainly poverty. I think if you combat poverty you will stop a lot of abortions.

Jennifer said...

I appreciate reading everyone's opinions. My own story is this - God called me to attend a secular state university. He made it clear that He wanted me there and not at a "Christian" college, and now that I've graduated I'm so blessed to see why He did that! I was critized deeply by some people from my church...especially when they found out that I was majoring in Religious Studies and minoring in Sociology. I had so many things thrown at me and was confronted by so much that was of the world and of the devil. I could go on and on listing the types of professors that I had, what they believed, and the types of assignments I had that were liberal and even evil. But, it was exactly where God wanted me to be...it was my mission field and I loved being there. I loved having the opportunity to build relationships with people who were the opposite of me. What awesome opportunites God blessed me with to bring up Christ in conversations! Secular universities are full of lost and hurting people, and we need people who love God to infiltrate the campuses! I was blessed to live at home during this time and have my family's support and encouragement. Also, I always surrounded my day's activities with much needed prayer for spiritual protection. I definitely agree that college is not for everyone and that attending a secular college is not for everyone also. God taught me so much that is valuable while I was there, and I am praying that I will not lose my burden for those whose hearts are darkened. I'm not "special" because that was my path, but that is what God called me to and I am so thankful for the way He worked in all of that! I don't think one situation is better than other...maybe they all have their flaws? But, really God calls us all to different things at this stage of life...where is the best place to be? Likely exactly where He has paved the way for each of us.

Sue said...

Coffee Catholic:

The Rachel's Vineyard website you mentioned offers facts about the effects of abortion, as well as the possibility of hope and healing for women (and men) who have had (or been involved with a woman who has had) an abortion(s). It is a very life-affirming site, IMHO.

--Sue

Anonymous said...

one of my college professors sounds just like yours unfortunately. It was an algebra class, but pretty much focused on vegetarianism and feminism. We watched movies on animal cruelty and were given authors whose works we should read for extra credit. When I told this professor that I would not be in class next week for a fitting for my wedding dress, she asked me why I was geting married, that I must be crazy! Nonetheless, I was bombarded with how miserable I would be and how I could just live with him and move on when I was ready. i barely passed that class. Thank you for a lovely article. As a mom with 2 girls entering the teen years, this is quite refreshing from the feminist stuff I was raised in.

domestic_hippie said...

I orginally chooose my major (theatre) because I wnted to use it in ministry and even though I went to a religious affiliated school and turned from God before my first semester...the education was the same. Artistcally I did get alot of opportunities. however part of doing theatre is you take a hiatus and come back later. But when I tell people I haven't done as much this year (hello! I got married) many act as if I gave up my life. When I realized what was really important I was very angry at my education. I was lied to alot. And while I value my tuned artistic skills (I do alot of different artforms) as they are helpful at home/church and when I have kids...I wish I could of skipped the other classes that taught me lies.