Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dedicated Daughters: what's a daughter to do at home?

Our maiden years are the perfect time to be training for what we believe to be our future calling. If we aspire to be like the woman in Proverbs 31, with all her abilities and strengths, or the wise woman in Proverbs 14, who 'builds her home', it only makes sense to dedicate our time as young, unmarried women to pursuing occupations that will shape and enhance our homemaking skills.

Before we venture any further, I'd like to make it very clear that I believe the man – husband or father – stands in the head of his household, responsible for providing for his wife and his daughters, until he gives them away to the provision and protection of a husband.

I know that many of the young women who are reading this don't have fathers who agree with this point of view – that is, if they have a father at all. I am one of those women, in fact. It doesn't mean, however, that there is no hope. More about that coming in the next posts.

I just think we all should remember that only several generations ago, it was unheard of for a young woman to 'move out and do her own thing'; daughters, no matter how old, normally remained under the authority and protection of their fathers, finding a variety of useful and productive pursuits to keep them busy and happy at home. They trained in the arts of homemaking and perfected them, until they met a man who was suitable for marriage – and until then, they were a blessing to their families, siblings and communities in countless ways.

Basically, in her unmarried years, a daughter should seek training in the areas which will be important to her as a future wife and mother. I don't mean only practical homemaking skills; what's even more important are the character traits she will need as a virtuous wife, as opposing to the character traits our culture says she needs: gentleness and submissiveness versus rebellion, generosity and selflessness versus selfish self-fulfillment at all costs, mature acceptance of authority versus seeking doing your own thing in whatever possible way.

The list of creative, interesting and useful occupations a young lady can pursue from home is endless, and in the following posts we will try to explore them. From autodidactic learning to canning fruits and vegetables, I promise you: once you have your vision clear, you won't have lack of things to do! But it does require a vision. I know twenty-something women who don't know how to boil an egg or operate the washing machine; who haphazardly clean once in a while and are bored to death at home. Why does this happen? Lack of example, learning and vision. I know – I used to be one of them.

Most young women go to college right after high school and enter a cycle of unorganized, self-indulgent campus life. This is especially prominent when a young lady attends college away from home (more on that in the next post), especially a secular college with a high dose of immorality. Think about it: those crucial years after the young woman first crosses the border to adulthood, when she first starts seriously contemplating marriage and is supposed to be preparing for it, are spent in an environment that supports it less than anything you could think of. I just don't see the logic in sending a young girl away to a corruptive environment for a few years and expecting her vision of marriage and motherhood to remain untainted.

Pushing single women towards the path of college and career resulted in disastrous consequences for our society. In the past, while an adult daughter had many responsibilities, she still typically had more free time than married women who had their own husbands and children to care for. Unmarried women had the gift of time to be there for the needy – the sick, the lonely, the mourners; they had the time and energy to visit and comfort, to give help and encouragement. Just think about the possibilities, and how much we're currently missing out on. Think about the stress, rush, frustration, anxiety and disappointment that slowly crept over our lives since women in general, and adult unmarried daughters in particular, were pushed out of their homes.

Coming soon: next post on "Dedicated Daughters" - The opposing forces

53 comments:

Rebekah S. said...

How very true! Oh, what a breath of fresh air your post was to me today!! :)

Your first 2 paragraphs or so, sounded just like the introduction to a book I'm working on-Proverbs 31 Dautherhood. If you would like, I could e-mail you the introduction, and you could tell me what you think about it.

That's so true about going off to college and having our convictions and vision tainted. Take Jennie Chancey, for example. In her testimony, she feferred to herself as a die-hard homemaker in training, who no one could possibly change the Biblical convictions of. But, what happened? She went off to college and came back a die-hard advocate for feminism. Amazing, isn't it? Thankfully, the Lord gripped her heart and did an amazing transforming work in it, and look at her today! :)

I love this series-thank you so much for it, Anna!!

Many blessings,
Rebekah

Anna S said...

Rebekah, yes, I would dearly love to have a look at your book project. You can email it to me anytime.

andrea said...

I know what you mean about college! My parents really encouraged me to go to college though. My mom's reasoning was this: even if you are planning to be a wife and mother, it is good to have a college education in case something happens to your husband that you'd need to support yourself and your family (my mom, a highly practical woman!). That's not actually the way I think, I on many occasions just wanted to leave college, it's not my 'style'! However, I don't think having a college education is detrimental to being a housewife, it's not 'wasted' in the least bit if you want to be a homemaker!

However, I do agree with you about the environment of college. I go to a pretty conservative Bible college, and even that I would rather do without! I deeply, fervently miss my home (I'm a very homesick senior!!!). People think I'm from another planet, because I enjoy doing laundry, and go to bed at a decent time of night!

And it's true, most college students live by the seat of their pants. It's very sloppy living, but I put up with it because I have my own individual goals there. Not all people are like that at Bible college. There are quite a few girls who are preparing to be wives and mothers and are home-focused and steady people. I'm blessed with a roommate who doesn't 'party it up'! Plus, I don't regret it because I met my soon to be future husband there! So, I'm happy about that.

Sometimes, I wish I had more time to do things on my own. I'm a pretty good self-teacher (people say I'd make a good home-schooling mom!)...but I put up with it because I only have a short time left at school...yay! :)

Rebekah S. said...

Oh, thank you SO much, Anna, for your interest!! :)

Terry said...

I knew I would enjoy this series! It is full of so much wisdom. As a mother of 4 daughters, I desperately want to rescue them from the current trend we see in today's young women. Thanks for continuing to stand against the culture.

Bethany Sue, CFO said...

Just beautiful. Anna have you considered writting a book? You have fresh voice on a very important topic. Just a thought!

Anna S said...

Bethany Sue, I have considered that, and maybe I will someday. For now I concentrate on writing fiction, though.

Rebekah S. said...

You write fiction? How neat!! Have you ever thought about posting some of your stories? I'm sure they would be enjoyed!!!

Jeannine said...

Anna, I'm looking forward to those posts! Especially to a discussion of the basis in scripture for your views. I'm sure we'll agree on some things and civilly and lovingly disagree on others :).
You always have great discussions on your blog!
((Hugs))

Anna S said...

Rebekah, I have considered that, but I'm not sure it would fit with my blog's theme. I'll think some more. :)

Anonymous said...

What do you do about medical insurance? Most plans only include children over 18 if they are in school full-time.

Anna S said...

Copying and pasting my answer from the previous thread:

"I haven't touched the subject of health insurance in this series, because I know it's different in every part of the world, so I'm not sure how helpful my advice would be. But maybe I will do a separate post about it later, because several ladies have asked me this question already. In the meantime, those of you who have relevant advice to share, go ahead!"

Sheri said...

Anna, what a beautiful beginning to this series! I'm look forward to reading more and I will share your blog with young ladies I know who are unmarried, needing encouragement to be godly daughters, serving in their homes.

You are a blessing!

USAincognito said...

Again, I respectfully disagree with the description of one's college experience. My college years were the best years of my life up until now. I have so many great friends from way back then and still keep in contact with them. The classes I took and the material I studied were an asset to me - in my own home, in my line of work, and out in society. College opened my eyes to see and understand so much more a lot clearer. It helped me to stand on my own two feet and make my own decisions - it is not healthy for one to be told exactly what to think and what to believe for the rest of their lives. One must be an invididual when it comes to how you think and why you think it. College definitely gave me that as I was a very shy "I'll do anything to please everyone" type of person before I went to college. Now, I think for myself and I know why I think/feel/believe what it is I think/feel/believe. College was also an opportunity for me to get out and experience life and to figure out what it was that I was meant to be/do with my life. I am very grateful and thankful for my college years and for all that I learned during that time!

Anna S said...

USA,

In the next post, I'll talk more about college and I hope that'll clarify some things, but to sum it up: I don't think my college experience was a waste of time either. I learned a lot. I'm simply asking the following questions: did the values we've been taught in college contribue to my preparation to become a wife and mother, a good, righteous, godly woman? The dose of immorality we got was so strong. I'm not sure it was really necessary to go through all that. Again, more coming in the next post...

Alicia M said...

I have to agree with the previous poster in regards to college being a wonderful experience for me. Also, I am somewhat the opposite of the situation described. I went into college being more feminist- wanting to have a high powered career (as a physician) in addition to a family. But through my college experience, the Lord really worked in my heart and showed me a better way. My greatest desire now is to someday be a mother at home with my children. I ended up with a nutrition degree, which has been helpful to me as a wife and will be helpful to me someday hopefully as a mother. I am also able to support our family while my husband gets his business running.
I grew deeply in my relationship with Christ during my college years and found wonderful Christian friends (something I did not have while growing up).
One thing I would caution though is that women especially should be careful about taking out too many student loans. I regret the ones I have, as they now place an unecessary burden on our family. :(

Allison said...

How wonderful to see blogs with posts encouraging daughters to live productive lives at home. I'm excited about the future posts!

Maggie said...

I have to also agree with the posters who talk about College being a wonderful experience. I too went away to attend a post-secondary institution. Granted yes, I did not live on campus, and thus perhaps my experience was different than what you may have experienced Anna, but I still learned many life lessons. I learned to live on a budget and stick to it. I learned how to cook and that leftovers for lunch and dinner is ok, not to mention cheaper than cafeteria food.

I attended school full-time and had 2 part-time jobs to support myself. My parents were in no situation to assist me financially with school so I do have a student loan. However, because I did work diligently and had good grades, i was able to get several scholarships to cover the costs of tuition and books. I also did not enter the party scene. Sure I went out several times but getting rip roaring drunk was not important to me. Nor was wracking up massive credit card bills. I wore hand me downs and shopped the bargin racks a couple times of years. Learning was the priority, not the partying.

As USAincognito mentioned, University also afforded me the opportunity to meet many new people from all walks of life. Several of whom I still keep in contact with and have become very close family friends. I was able to learn to express an opinion and be confident in that.

Jennifer K said...

I loved my college experience. I was co-editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, on the board of a prominant school organization, was published in the school's literary magazine, and a writing tutor for two years. I had the most amazing professors and my classmates came from all walks of life. I got to meet and interview politicians, film makers, activists, artists, writers, business people and musicians. College truly enhanced my life in so many ways.

Brenda said...

Do you HEAR what you are saying? This is craziness, I tell you!

I completely agree, but it just hit me how strange all this thinking probably sounds to someone who has never thought through all this stuff before. (They have no hook to hang these thoughts on, right?)

Even 2 years ago, I would have read this post in disbelief. But now it is what I want for my daughters more than anything. How do I cast this vision for them when NOBODY in our real life thinks like this?

How did you change from a bored at home young woman to how you are now? What was your motivation?

Anna S said...

"How did you change from a bored at home young woman to how you are now? What was your motivation?"

Brenda, that's an excellent question. If the next posts don't shed light on it, you are most welcome to pose it again at the end of the series!

Mrs. Brigham said...

Lovely post, Anna. I am looking forward to the articles to come in this series :o)

Spending time before marriage and motherhood, learning, growing, and preparing for this important calling is of the utmost importance, and an opportunity that certainly should not only be taken, but enjoyed fully. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to learn "on the job" and really do wish I would have had such an opportunity during my single years.

When it comes to college, I do not think it is a bright idea for either sons or daughters to get into any amount of debt for their education. Debt of any kind can set a person up for a dangerous situation, particularly when a spouse and children enter the picture. The Bible has quite a bit to say about debt & finances, and this is the most crucial financial "advice" for us to follow. :o)

Apples of Gold said...

Good thoughts!

Rebekah S. said...

USAincognito,

Hi! I would like to make some comments, if I may. You said: "It(meaning college) helped me to stand on my own two feet and make my own decisions - it is not healthy for one to be told exactly what to think and what to believe for the rest of their lives." This is a dangerous assumption. As parents (or, in my case, future parent, Lord willing), we are to train up our children in the way they should go (meaning training them up in the admonition of the Lord). We are to be teaching them what the Bible says we are to believe on numerous, numerous topics. This is our God-given duty.

Now, before going any further, I want to calm some of the fears you may have, and let you know that I believe wholeheartedly and completely that a woman is to be fully and highly educated. But we must ask ourselves how this is to be Biblically performed? The Biblical way is for a young lady to stay at home under her father's roof, authority and protection until marriage. At this time, after highschool, there are SO many many opportunities to further your education. For instance, I'm only in the 10th grade, but am currently reading books that are given to students in college. Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin had the equivalent of a college education at the ages of 15 and 17! It definitely can be done! Through Accilerated Distance Learning, for instance, you can even earn a degree that could be helpful at home in your future (for instance, if you had a home business). This degree can be earned in as little as 6 months, costing only $5,000 or so. A young lady can also take correspondance courses as well. There really are a wealth of opportunities out there for the girl who wants to live life and get an education God's way, rather than the world's way.

But, let me also say, that the Lord can and does sometimes bring good out of experiences such as going to college. And, if He brought good out of it in your case, and in the couple of other cases mentioned here in the comments, to God be the glory! That's wonderful!! However, I've also heard testimony after testimony after testimony of young women who went to college (for instance, a small, "conservative", Christian college in their hometown.) only to be bombarded with temptation after temptation. Some of them even had to drop out after the first or second semester due to all the compromise they were facing from their peers. Others came away their convictions completely changed (for the worse). Now, please don't misunderstand anything that I've said to make it seem like I'm judgemental towards you or any other women who go to college. Because I'm certainly not!!! :) I guess those were just my 2 cents. :) Thanks for listening to all my rambling.

Blessings,
Rebekah


Brenda,

I too, went through the most amazing transformation in my convictions recently! I'll have to write about it more on my blog sometime, as I love telling others my story, but basically, starting about a year ago, the Lord began grabbing a hold of my heart, and the hearts of my family members, and took our convictions, shaped them to fit His Word, and placed us in the most wonderul new church. To God be all the glory!!! A year or two ago, I would have read this article and also probably thought that Anna was crazy. :) But, thankfully, the Lord changed me, and I am now so very very thankful for Anna, her wonderful blog, and the blogs of so many other wonderful, likeminded ladies. They have all been a blessing!!

Rebekah S. said...

Anna,

This is sort of a side note, but have you ever thought about writing a post on femininity and why you wear skirts, dresses, jumpers, etc. exclusively? I do the same thing, and would love to have your input on this! Just an idea.... :)

Oh, and in regards to your fiction, I can see what you mean about it maybe not being on the same topics as your blog, but I'm sure there are many people who would love to read it anyway! Just a something to think about I guess. :) Or, you could always make it into a e-mail newsletter type thing!

Christine said...

I would say going to college was probably one of the best things I've done yet in my life. And I even went to a very large, public, definitely not-Christian university (it was voted the number 1 party school in the nation one year I was there). Yet I went into college as a baby Christian with high feminist ideas, and I came out as a much much more mature Christian with anti-feminist ideas. And I even lived on campus all 4 years. Since I didn't grow up in a Christian family, in college I grew more than I ever would have living at home. I met amazing Christian women who helped me grow in huge, huge ways. I developed a heart for God and a heart for people. And in my 4 years I realized that even more than eventually being a wife and a mother, I want to see people know Christ. I just want to share the gospel with the lost. And I never would have learned that if it weren't for college. So college isn't always a bad thing. :)

Ahuva said...

I think there are a lot of important life skills that are difficult to provide for a daughter living at home. It's important to know how to run a household including budging, managing finances/paying bills, identifying things that need to be repaired and dealing with the handyman, how to FIND a decent handyman and know that he isn't ripping you off, how to choose and maintain a mortgage, handle insurance claims and pay taxes, etc. Canning and sewing are wonderful and valuable skills, but you also need to know how to winterize your home, how frequently the roof/heatpump/whatever needs to be inspected, identify potential hazards in the home (like electrical shorts) and make sure the family is saving for retirement. If your husband is in kollel or, G-d forbid, injured, a wife needs to have some sort of skill she can use to bring in a paycheck.

Whether a daughter goes to college or not, most women learn these things when they're living on their own-- and it's a lot easier to make and recover from mistakes if you're not learning with babies in tow and a husband to feed. It's also difficult to develop necessary time management skills when you're a part of a large, well-run household. A daughter doesn't have to juggle a dozen things at once-- she has her mother, father and sisters to share the load. A young wife isn't going to have all that daily help and support.

Anonymous said...

One thing I think a lot of people are missing about the pros/cons of college life isn't whether the actual degree benefits you or not. Of course, it will benefit you even as a homemaker. My degree is in Biology and Chemistry and I am a stay at home mom and love it.
However, I totally agree with college being a horribly immoral place to be sending our daughters especially at such a critical time in their development. As much as I hate to admit it, I did really horrible things in college. I went from having no real position on feminism to being very feminist. I was very immoral and self centered and all of this was not only condoned but encouraged by my peers.
Also, I came from a very liberal family where I was groomed to be a "woman of the world", but I wasn't really taught to do anything on my own. I was one of the women Anna talks about who didn't know how to boil water or start a washing machine. Seriously. When I first got to college I had no real direction and sort of floundered in picking a degree and path to travel down. My parents took care of all of my financial needs so all I had to do was school. However, what I ended up doing more of was parties and sorority/fraternity life.
So it isn't necessarily that the services offered at college that are the bad part, but it is the social structure and culture we are turning our children loose in. For those of you women out there who went to a secular college like I did, can you honestly say that during the four years or more you spent there, you didn't have some idea that was completely false some professors tried to get you to agree on (such as feminism or evolution). You never did or thought of doing anything that you probably wouldn't have done if you had been in a more safe environment such as your parent's household or been a little older and stronger in your beliefs?
I was on my way to being a very independent and successful biology field researcher when I met my husband today. I went through what I like to call my "spiritual revolution" where nearly everything that I thought I knew got tossed out the window and the Lord really did a number on me. I thank the Lord every day that he stepped in and changed things so drastically for me.
Ok, now what I have written has turned into a novel, but it is something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. My children will definitely go to college because in this day and age, one simply cannot function without a college degree anymore almost. However, they will be FULLY prepared for what is in store for them, have a clear goal in mind, and be going to a Christ centered school. And if at all possible living at home as well.

Sammybunny said...

Anna,

What a thoughtful post! I am very excited about this post even though I am at college and not living at home. I also have something to add about college. I LOVE IT! I had some family problems my senior year of high school and I am convinced that that environment was stifling my Spirit to the point of depression (over a long period of time). Since coming to college, God has really really cultivated my relationship with my family again to where when I do go home, it is a joyful thing and we are all excited to see each other. Also, since my beau is here it is a great time for us to get to know one another and prepare ourselves for marriage one day. God can REALLY work in a person's life when they are exposed to the world and it is a very sacred time to be vulnerable and clinging to the Lord. Much learning and chances to glorify God Most High when we ourselves are in dark worldly environments! I don't think it's where you are that influences your behavior but the condition of your spirit.

Calamity Jean said...

Anna,

You know how I feel about College and that I had a wonderful experience during my undergrad years. I don't feel that college hindered me from my ultimate goal of wife and mother at all. In fact, my time living in a house with my three roommates allowed me to understand running my own home. My mother did a wonderful job of teaching homemaking skills to myself and my siblings during grades 1-12. She instilled in me a love of cooking and many of our college friends still call and ask me to cook for them.
College also strengthened my faith, making it my own and not just what my parents taught me.

Ok, that being said,I wanted you to know that I really appreciate your stance in this article. I think that for daughters who decide to stay home you are providing invaluable encouragement and information without twisting scripture. As always, you present your opinions and thoughts in a respectful and honest manner. I look forward to reading further.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I wanted to thank you for your insightful and refreshing blog posts. I read your blog almost daily, but this is the first time I have commented.

If you don't mind, I have a question that I am wondering about, which you could maybe address in one of your posts in this series?

I am a college freshman, studying music at a community college while living at home. Initially, only my parents wanted me to go, while I was uncertain about it because I thought it might be detrimental to my vision for being a homemaker. Overall, college has been so much better than I expected, and God has blessed me in so many ways. However, just as I feared, I have lost some of my vision for being a wife and mother. I still want to be a homemaker, and I look forward to the day when I have a husband and children to bless at home, but in the meantime it is hard to keep my focus on this and not become distracted by all the people pushing me to have a career and either forget about homemaking or push it back until I am much older. So, my question is this:

What are some things I can do (or what are some things you did) to help me not lose sight of this important calling God has given me?

I'm sorry for such a long comment...I hope it made sense! Thank you very much, Anna! God bless you!

Laura

Anna S said...

"It's important to know how to run a household including budgeting, managing finances/paying bills, identifying things that need to be repaired and dealing with the handyman, how to FIND a decent handyman and know that he isn't ripping you off..."

Ahuva, I believe it's entirely possible to learn these things living at home as well - I did! I'm an adult daughter living at home; I budget, I'm responsible for keeping track of the bills, I find men to do repairs and even do some repairs myself, etc, etc. It's entirely a matter of how a daughter handles her responsibilities.

Then again, I'm an only daughter, with a very busy mother and an elderly grandmother. I also attend a training program living at home (I previously went to a local college), and I work from home as a translator. So I also learned to multitask.

Is it wrong to have a skill that could enable you to make money? Not at all (and I do hope you visit again and read future posts, I will talk quite a bit about that!). I'm merely stating that going away to college for several years might have a price some young women and their parents are unwilling to pay, and turn instead to other options.

Anna S said...

"What are some things I can do (or what are some things you did) to help me not lose sight of this important calling God has given me?"

Laura, what an excellent question! I will talk about that closer to the end of the series. Stay tuned!

Perplexity said...

Just because some people had horrible experiences in college does not mean it is a horrible place to send women. If you made choices that were not good for you, that is you and your issue to deal with. Not everyone is going to make the same choices you did.

My college years were probably the best of my entire life. I didn't get simply an academic education. I got an education on life. How to respect others, even if I didn't agree with them. My world view expanded 100 fold. I learned how to work with people who are entirely different than I am. I learned how to manage time, to budget a thousand expenses out of a hundred expense income, how to prioritize, how to let go...the list is endless.

My academic education was the purpose and trust me, I wouldn't trade what I learned in my chosen field for the world. But it's everything else that I learned that changed my life and made me who I am.

There is no way the world in which I grew up could ever, ever have taught me that. No way at all.

I am a better person for it. A better daughter, a better sister, a better friend, a better wife.

And I can't see anyone, for any reason, denying that opportunity for their daughter. Of course, it is not up to me - but I also don't think it should be up to you as parents. I think if your daughter grows up and wants to go to college, as parents you'd do much better to support her in that endeavor and do all you can to help make it a productive learning and growing experience.

Anna S said...

"I think if your daughter grows up and wants to go to college, as parents you'd do much better to support her in that endeavor and do all you can to help make it a productive learning and growing experience."

I suggest you read the first post in this series (just click on the label "Dedicated Daughters" at the bottom of this post). I started writing this in encouragement of young ladies who *want* to stay at home, but are pressured by their parents to attend college far away from home and climb up the career ladder. The situation you describe is just the opposite.

Ahuva said...

Anna,

I am thinking of the stereotypical religious families I know where there are 5-8 (or more) children, many of them daughters. I'm having a hard time seeing how any single daughter in that situation can be given the training needed to run her own home without actually leaving the home and making those choices-- making the plans to replace the heat pump or roof in x years, estimating how much is needed for food, deciding which health plan to purchase, etc. You can't give that kind of responsibility to each child.

It is my personal belief that a proper upbringing gives a daughter the tools she needs to withstand the unsavory side of college life. When my cousin went away to boarding school, she told me that it really strengthened her faith because she had to make a conscious decision to perform the daily activities of religious life; it was no longer the default position. She's now happily enjoying her year of seminary before starting college. And seminary was at her request, not her parents.

I'm looking forward to reading more of this blog. I'm starting to realize that we've attached ourselves to very different traditions, but I think I'll enjoy learning about the similarities and differences.

Calamity Jean said...

For the those who posted about keeping your daughters away for the sin and temptation in the world.

Whether children go to college or not they are all called to be "in the world, not of the world". Christians cannot be meek and scared to be around those who question our faith. If that is the basis for not going to college then there will be issues far beyond a girls college years. Part of living in a fallen world is facing opposition and temptation, on and off college campuses.

I think that every young girl should have a plan. What do you want out of your life and how can you best achieve those goals and aspirations? If college is not going to be beneficial for achieving those goals than what will be? I don't think that deciding to stay home out of fear for the big bad scary world is ok.

Mandy said...

Wonderful post, Anna! I can't wait to read the others! It is so true that there are many things you can learn and do at home.

Anonymous said...

How important do you feel this issue is? Do you feel that girls who want to go to college are in sin? If I enjoy going to school and/or workiing is that wrong?

Andrea said...

(Anna, I am sitting here staring at what I've written and wondering where in the world it all came from! Feel free to hold it back if you think I stray too much from the point. I've edited, re-edited and tried to stay on topic as much as possible, but sometimes things turn out to be bigger than you thought they would!)

"For those of you women out there who went to a secular college like I did, can you honestly say that during the four years or more you spent there, you didn't have some idea that was completely false some professors tried to get you to agree on (such as feminism or evolution)"

Yes! That is, yes I can honestly say that. I can also say I do not believe immorality is any less present at Bible or Christian colleges; it is perhaps simply less apparent at first glance (I've spoken with many church friends I grew up with who went away to post-secondary Christian schools, and my goodness! They saw things there I never encountered in my four years at my secular university! I would be very wary about sending your children to a college purely because it is supposedly "Christian")

I have to confess I went into University fully prepared to have to argue with professors at every turn in order to make my beliefs, priciples and priorities clear. I expected them to be challenged regularly, and was ready to have to fight to defend my values. I was instead blown away by the respect with which my views were met; I was careful to always state them firmly and politely, and my professors were uniformly receptive and respectful of my views (I took an English degree, with considerable concentration in History too; perhaps professors in other faculties would not have been so receptive).

I worked hard to ensure that I took part in nothing (in class, in residence or off campus) that would compromise my determination to live for God. That said, of course I fell short, but never in any way that I could not also have fallen short at home; the "simple" things like wanting to sleep in a little longer than was necessary, watching a television program that, in retrospect, I can see was not honouring to God . . . all those things I can and have done at home, too. University had no bearing on them.

I would never have met one of my dearest friends if I had not gone to university (she lives on an entirely different continent!). She is a sweet girl and a strong Christian, a friend whose views often challenged me to clarify and strengthen my own position on various things. The discussions we shared were of a depth and degree I had never experienced in my church at home (nor have I, even after leaving school).

I took courses where there arose discussions that compelled me to clarify my position on abortion, on homemaking, on childrearing, on politics, faith . . . simply everything. I turned to Scripture again and again to determine why I believed what I did, as well as to determine what I should believe in instances where I had no ready answer.

These are challenges we so rarely experience if we do not venture beyond our homes; we are, as one poster already observed, called to be IN the world, not hide from it. We are of course also admonished that we are not to be of the world; I hope and trust that I made my separation from the things of the world very clear. I often felt I was living out what was described in 1 Peter 2:11, and truly living as an "alien and stranger" -- I did not go to parties where I knew there would be drinking (actually, I only went to parties where I knew for a fact there would be NO drinking, since that gets out of control so quickly), I didn't go to pubs or bars and tried to make my choices God-honouring, all of which certainly can stand out as alien in a campus environment.

I suppose my point is that if your parents have been faithful to train you to follow God, and if your commitment to following him is wholehearted and mature, you can do it "right" -- that is, stand out as an alien and stranger in a corrupt environment simply by setting an example of purity.

To parents considering university for their children, if your children are not equipped with the degree of maturity and the maturity of faith necessary to honour God in their choices when they reach university age, then of course they should not go. That's setting them up for disaster. Of course, the eighteen years before that are a great time to set them up for something quite different from disaster!

I cannot say this as a parent, but speaking as a daughter, parents make ALL the difference! My mother was and is a shining example to me of loving, devoted Christian womanhood, and I love her . . . SO much more than I could ever say. I adore my mother. And such was her example to me in life and in faith that I took it with me when I left home, and will carry it with me for the rest of my life until I come face to face the God my mum loves beyond all else and taught me to love, too. She sent me out READY! She, of course, wasn't ready to send me out (she's a mother, after all!) and freely admitted she'd have gladly kept me at home for another eighteen years if she could have pretended it would be fair to me(!) but she made sure I knew she was only a phone call (and in many cases a car ride) away. We spent months prayerfully considering which school I should attend, and God showed us both the same answer; so good to have that sort of confirmation! She prayed long into the night before I left and she woke me up the next morning with a verse God placed on her heart for me-- Isaiah 40:30-1

She quoted the verse to me again before she left me at the dormitory (I also found it written on a piece of paper she tucked in my Bible when I wasn't looking!) and then said it again to me the day I graduated. I know that I would not have been ready to walk into that environment without her leadership, her example and my own relationship with God, which my mother both exemplied and encouraged.

When I have children, and when I send them out into the world (I do in my pre-married state believe I will encourage them to pursue education for as far as God leads them to, and hope desperately that my husband will be ready to submit to God's leading in that respect as well) it is my greatest prayer that not only will they go with a devotion to God and a real and growing relationship with Him, but also that I as their parent will have been even half the example and teacher to them that my mother was to me; if I have been so, then I will not worry.

So. In summation . . . university = good (well, you can GET good out of it, as long as you purposefully avoid the bad), mothers = great and God = greatest. I think that about covers it, and I do apologise for going on at such length!

Anna S said...

"Do you feel that girls who want to go to college are in sin? If I enjoy going to school and/or working is that wrong?"

Again, a very good question. Stay tuned for the next post, and if you feel your question hasn't been answered by it, feel free to ask again!

Buffy said...

I just wanted to add to your post that one should never stop learning!

Maggie said...

I would also like to reiterate the point that several women have made: we are to live in the world, but not be of the world.

As Christians we are not to live in our own little world away from everyone else who doesn't share our beliefs. How does that help with our great commission? -- To go forth and spread the Word. It is by going into these situations where yes, we will be faced with temptation, that we can act as shining examples of Christianity -- that we are not taken to temptation. That is a beautiful way to witness. And many non-Christians are able to see that.

University/College is a wonderful place to witness.

Cheers,
maggie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for always explaining your stance with grace. While I don't always agree with your positions, I think your blog is a fresh voice in a jaded world.

Anyway...For me, college was wonderful academically, but socially, I got myself involved with some things and people who made me less than I could have been. Oh the drama over this guy or that guy, when quite frankly, none of them deserved the gift of me, which I so blithely gave away!

On the other hand, I did meet one wonderful friend at college. The others faded away as I changed. There were no hard feelings, but I outgrew those friendships and pursuits.

However, because of my education, I was able to leave my dysfunctional home and live in an apartment. To me, this was emotionally healthier than staying in an environment where my father would verbally abuse my mother, smoke three packs of cigarettes a day, etc. He had recently stopped drinking, but still had many of the behaviors associated with that. It was neither an emotionally or physically healthy environment. (I must add that my parents are doing so much better now, but this was years ago.)

I also know other women who were in families that had alcoholism, abuse, etc., and their education was a means to escape that. For example, I know a woman who had physical and sexual abuse within her family. Going to college not only gave her the education to afford her own place away from all that, but it's where she became a Christian.

So my question is, do you think that adult daughters should stay at home even when they are in unhealthy families? (Perhaps you will discuss this later...I will definitely stay tuned.)

Thanks for all your hard work keeping up this blog.

Anna S said...

"So my question is, do you think that adult daughters should stay at home even when they are in unhealthy families?"

A VERY good question, and a topic which deserves to be discussed in a separate post! However, I didn't cover it in this series. To sum it up: I think it depends on what you define as "unhealthy". If the daughter is literally abused, I believe she should RUN. But it really depends on the individual situation.

Robin said...

I'd like to respond to what Andrea had to say in her post.

I agree that university can be a great place for someone who has been prepared, and I think you established that well. When I was in high school, it was simply the expectation that I would go. I was prepared academically, however, my parents did not prepare me spiritually or emotionally. It was a disaster. I had no foundations and was literally an empty sponge. It was easy to fill me up with anything. I still struggle with this.

I love what you had to say about your experience with your mother. It gives me something to strive for with my own children. Academics are extremely important to my husband, and he expects our children to attend college. We don't currently homeschool, however, we will be pulling our 7-year-old daughter out of school in December to being schooling her in January. I'm very excited about the opportunity to not only educate the children but to really feed their souls.

Cait said...

Hi Anna,

I always like reading your blog. Just a question:

Do you read the Buried Treasure blogspot at BuriedTreasureBooks.com? It's pretty awesome. One of her latest blogs got featured on Ladies Against Feminism.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cait

Anonymous said...

Let me preface my comment by saying that everything I say, I say with respect. You women are all clearly educated, intelligent, and insightful, which is why I am so confused!

When I first read your blog, I did so with my mouth wide open. As I gaped at the words I first felt shock, then discomfort, then deep sadness, and finally confusion. I believe in upholding strong morals, and being spiritual. However, I simply cannot understand why a woman would not want to (even as a woman of God) pursue a route equal to that of a man; would not want to first educate herself in college even if her final destination were motherhood or her home. Please know that I am not attacking your position but exploring it.

Anna S said...

Anon,

You ask, "why wouldn't woman want to be equal to a man?" - but do you truly mean "equal in value"? Because I definitely believe men and women are equal in value. Now, pursuing a path identical to that of a man - career, earning money, being the breadwinnter - that's another story. As for education for women, I encourage you to explore the FAQs on my sidebar.

Pastor Laura said...

Dear Anna,

While I respect you greatly for posting your comments and writing your honest thoughts in this well-written article I just felt the need to pose some opposing viewpoints for the sake of provoking thought (not creating a battlefield in the least).

I am a religious leader because I feel that this is what God has called me to do. I feel that he has given me specific talents and gifts to be used outside of my home to impact the world, just as he has with all women and people in general. The talents that he has given me have allowed me to positively impact the lives of young men and women in difficult situations and to teach others about the Christian faith. I feel that if women have such gifts and talents that they are obligated to use and pursue them. God gifts us so that we might impact the world around us, not keep the gifts to ourselves and our own personal homes and communities.

For me, doing this required an education in order to become qualified and recognized by the church. For others schooling may or may not be required, but I believe that you must do whatever you need to do in order to fulfill God's calling for your life.

Secondly, a woman is a person just as a man is a person. She should not seek to be taken care of by another but be able to take care of herself. What would happen in the case, God forbid, of the death of her husband, for example. She would have to stand on her own. In my studies of Koine Greek I have found that many of the Biblical supports for female submission are ambiguous or creative translations of the original Greek wording, also, in the cases of the Pauline epistles to Timothy authorship is questioned by Biblical Scholars. Paul treated women as equal to men in the Pauline texts which are undisputed, giving them the title of deacon (not deaconess, but the same title with which he refers to men) etc. In the Greek manuscripts (Greek has a seperate word for Deaconess, Paul did not use it, he used the word for Deacon). We have taken the liberty of translating it as deaconess. Plus, this sudden change of perspective from women in leadership roles to women in submission doesn't make sense. Furthermore, the history conveyed in the disputed letters, such as 1 and 2 Timothy points to a later era, after Paul's time, in which women were becoming culutrally constrained in the Hellenistic world and Christians were forced to conform in some ways as a community which was part of this world.

Empowerment of the feminine is not a bad, but a beautiful thing, when a woman can accomplish and stand on her own, complementing her husband in complete human equality.
Just my thoughts, which are by no means the only way to think :)

Merry Christmas,

Laura

Candace said...

I think this article is pretty good.

I must say, that not every woman comes out of college as a feminist. I didn't. If it wasn't for going off to school, I would not have been introduced to God or had a desire to be a Christian. I also would not be on a journey to become more modest and a woman after His heart.

The family I grew up in left a bad taste in my mouth for Christianity. If it wasn't for a group of ladies at school, only God knows where I would be right now.

It also saved my life. Because I was away from home, I finally got the help I needed.

I did not go to college and get into bad things. I kept to myself. I was attending bible studies with friends, watching tv, or on the computer. I stayed away from drugs, parties, and premarital sex. Most of what I did encounter were things that I would have encountered whether or not I went to college.

I think that the kind of person you are and the strength of your convictions determines whether or not you could make it in college. I know college is not for everyone. But this is one college educated person who did not come back as a stark raving feminist.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say something. I agree that a young single woman should stay at home and learn homemmaking skills, however, what if her mother does not show a good example to her daughter or does not even show an interest in teaching her daughter these things? It is difficult for a single Christian daughter to be living in an environment where the mother herself does not show a good example of godly femininity. How would you answer that one? I'm just curious, because some girls are in that situation. I'm sure you have the ability to put yourself into other people's shoes. Some girls may have grown up with Christian parents, but unfortunately, the mothers did not show an example of how to run a home to her daughter, and the grown daughter is also limited as to who she can learn these things from, because no one in the church she grew up in desires to have a vision of teaching younger women how to "love their husbands, love their children," and do all that "domestic" stuff. What's a girl to do when she wants to follow the Bible, but yet in a situation such as this, the mothering and teaching this young woman needs can and perhaps should be found elsewhere? How would you answer that?

Miss Cate said...

I would agree that the primary role of womanhood is being a homemaker and a wife. Yet I would argue that there is no harm in education, in fact that it is a good thing, as long as it is balanced by the study of scripture and in devoting time to enhancing her divinely given feminine traits and virtues. A college education is a wonderful thing, and I do believe that God wants us to gain all of the education we can, for the more we know, the more empowered we are to help others, beginning with our own families. Moving away from home is an excellent time to strengthen one's homemaking skills by putting them into practice.