Friday, June 10, 2005

Wife and Kids I

In yesterday's mail came a comment to my old post God the Mother by my friend, dance2morn, expressing concerns about, well I would say equal rights for women, and pointing out that Jesus' model of character fits women more than men. I couldn't agree more with her position, and I went over for her the same injustices that came to my wife as those she spoke of.

Since then I've been thinking a lot about her point. Well she's right: women make better Christians than men, about 10 to 1; I figured that out when I was 9 years old and got in the habit of counting the congregation of the church my father served: not 10 to 1, maybe 2 to 1 or 3 to 1. Reflections for the next 70 years have borne out that it was a roughly accurate prediction of the degrees of character.

My father was the kingpin of our home although Mother was smarter (and I'm proud to say I got most of her genes). When I achieved a critical faculty, I became aware that he often and in fact generally took advantage of her good nature.

Somewhere in my teens I remember her saying to me that early in their marriage she came to see that someone had to give in, and she decided she might as well be the one. (Luckily marriages have become generally more equal than they were in that far off era-- and also much more unstable!) But that's another post.

The point here is that as a teenager I found myself constantly saying that I would never do (to my wife and children) what he had done, but you know: I did-- in just about every particular.

One thing I pride myself on: I always swore I would never impose on my children the constant moving that we endured (10 different locations in primary and secondary education), and I lived up to that resolution-- our children only spent school time in three locations.

Mother had a nervous breakdown (in connection with one of those moves), but my wife has done better: she's about the healthiest (physically and mentally) person I know, and she knows I love her, although I constantly take advantage of her in one way or another.
I hope to get to heaven on her coattails.

Our relationship began 48 years ago when we were counselors at a summer camp for semi-privileged kids: 8-17. I think she enjoyed the younger ones most while I found working with the teenage boys a tremendous experience.

In light of that experience I later told her that I would be interested in relating to our three sons when they were 21--- half jokingly.

Well I didn't start out to tell the story of my life, but if you read me much, you know that's what I generally wind up doing. I do have more to say on this theme of family relations, but I'm sorry to say my span of attention has run out. (This is what I used to call preaching, and I want to thank dance2morn again for stimulating me to these creative??? thoughts.)


Mark Walter said...

When I was growing up, Larry, I saw the same thing: Mostly women in the church, and of the men who were there they were often kind of wall-flowerish. I know in some churches it's different, but I even as a child I wondered what the reason was behind that.

One day, Sensei (my teacher) got on the subject. I've heard him repeat it and elaborate many times since. In a nutshell, he said it all comes down to the yin-yang principle of femininity and masculinity. In otherwords, the female (whether we are talking about humans, or the yin principle itself) is by nature a more receptive vessel. Females receive better - that's their core nature. They can take an idea, a thought, an inspiriation and better germinate, nurture and grow it. Whether they choose to do that or not is another issue. But, he says, that ability is the essence of their feminine nature. In the case of women, this aspect makes up at least 51% of their nature. So, some women have more of it than others. Males have it (receptivity) too. But it's not our predominant nature.

Larry said...

Thanks, Mark. You're certainly right. I saw it demonstrated right here at home this evening:

A young (55) Quaker came from NY to spend a couple of days with us on a teaching trip. He wasn't here 10 minutes until I got away from him; too full of himself; he was just pouring out the words and I couldn't take it.

But Ellie spent an hour with him, talked him out, I guess. Now he's gone to bed, and we have the house to ourselves again.

Of course as I said, Ellie is a much better Christian than I am.