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Dads And the War on Motherhood

Jeff:
Today’s going to be a fun discussion and at the end of the day, guys, know this is one of those things we’re probably not going to solve in five minutes but we definitely want to start the discussion in five minutes and excited to hear you guys’ thoughts. This one was an email from the community and I don’t want to read exactly the whole long email but for length purposes it was basically talking about gender, raising daughters. The question boiled down to, what he said was, “How can we make sure to raise daughters who are empowered, independent, equal, confident, but also have a firmly rooted sense of being a female and a woman of God?” Then he talks about how he’s tried to work on that with his daughters and stuff. I’ve heard a version of this question a lot and even one that I think we all have to wrestle with in this culture, which is how can you lean into maybe some of the blessings you feel like culture is affording to us, specifically to women, with clearly also some very darker parts in regards to erasing of gender, the blurring of lines and all those different things. 

So Jeremy, how would you kind of sit in that pocket of addressing that question while empowering while not enabling essentially the lies of culture? 

Jeremy:
Yeah this is a tough one and there’s a few things that Aaron wrote to us, I love this email, he worded it really well. He said, “What does it mean to raise a daughter and to raise a girl in today’s environment? Specifically in today’s culture of equality, gender, neutrality and erasing of lines between genders? How do we raise daughters who are empowered, independent, equal and confident but are also having a firmly rooted sense of being a female and a woman of God?” At the end of the email he just says, “In summary, I’ve always thought that raising a daughter to be equal to boys was the ultimate goal but am I missing a step by ensuring that she clearly understands the awesomeness of being a woman?” I love this question.

Jeff:
Yeah he did word that really, really good and I think has a couple different distinctions in there which I would say definitely not the ultimate goal but yeah. So go ahead. 

Jeremy:
Yeah, no, it’s a tough, this is really interesting. This is a question that the entire culture is asking right now. How do we help girls, and really I like the way he described the ultimate goal, there is an ultimate goal right now. The cultures ultimate goal is how do we make sure girls know that they’re equal to boys? Almost, I don’t know Jeff, almost 50% and I’m not sure if that’s an exaggeration of the Superbowl commercials this year were about girl power or some kind of narrative around a girl that was really rising. 

Jeff:
Yeah. 

Jeremy:
Always in opposition or directly competing with a boy. 

Jeff:
Yeah even Captain Marvel in some sense, which I think is actually a great film and is awesome, but there’s tones there for sure. 

Jeremy:
Yeah. 

Jeff:
This is the cultural ethos of the conversation we want to have right now. 

Jeremy:
Yes. There’s a lot of good stuff going on there. I mean look, I’m raising four daughters, they’re all amazing, they’re all strong, they’re all black belts, don’t mess with them. They can compete with boys. My daughter Sydney, she’s 15, she just got first place in a speech and debate tournament. She debated these two six foot seniors and I watched her and her partner take them down. It’s super fun to watch your daughter do amazing things and my daughters are amazing. I love them and I love their strength. One of the things that I really want to say to Aaron because I love his question is that there is an overreaction going on right now in the culture. There’s an obsession with … The problem isn’t so much whether or not girls can do what boys can do. 

The problem is that this is being, and I love his word “ultimate,” “This is considered the main way in which a girl should see her life, her identity, is how well does she do at competing with men? I do not want my daughters to be obsessed with that question as the ultimate goal. The reason, there’s a massive casualty if that becomes the ultimate goal and the casualty is motherhood. I want my daughters to know and love the idea of motherhood. Motherhood is such an incredible thing and if you are obsessed with competing with boys, one of the very subtle things that’s going to begin to happen to you as a girl is you are going to begin to devalue the role of the mother because you’re not competing with boys when it comes to motherhood. Motherhood is its own challenge and it’s own identity and it’s own opportunity and it’s own responsibility. It is such an incredibly high call and that is the casualty when we make the ultimate value or identity of a girl her ability to compete and beat other boys.” 

I’m really disturbed by this trend as being so rising to the point of being the ultimate thing that we need to talk about. 

Jeff:
Well yeah. I think one of the biggest things we have to be careful on is the minute any type of clear lines that scripture seems to be drawing in regards to distinction. When we start to erase those I feel like, you know, because we can pastorally talk about what exactly that means but it’s pretty clear on the 30,000 foot level that there’s gender distinction and that there’s role distinction. If we can’t even kind of start on square one then that’s when I think … Our culture wants to actually erase the distinction and so we can talk again practically what that looks like but I will fully say like, yeah, the erasing of distinction is detrimental and going to take us to a very, very bad place in my opinion. 

Another thing, and this plays out in a million different ways, right? I think even one of the questions I think a lot of people ask and me and Alyssa did a podcast on this like, months ago, was like, we almost use these rhetorical questions to get out of our identity. For example like you said, the ultimate goal right now is that a woman can do the same things as a man and so then a lot of times we hear those hypotheticals in a work situation. It’s like, one of the things right now you hear a lot from the girl boss movement and all these entrepreneurial women sometimes online is they’ll be like when someone says, “How do you balance it all? How do you be a good mom? How do you be a good wife? How do you also be a good CEO?” Then sometimes they just really buck against that question and they just say like, “Well why don’t you ask the dad that. How come you never ask the dad how he can balance it all?” 

It’s kind of a deflection. I hear that actually a lot. Then the conversations over. They’re kind of like, “Oh because we’re not asking the dad that then you shouldn’t ask me that. That’s unfair so move on.” When my thing is like, well you should be asking the dad that. How about we actually ask both. I think it’s the opposite. It’s not a deflection to not ask. It’s like a, “Oh, you’re right. We should 100% asking fathers how do you be a good father while also being a CEO and a leader and asking mothers.” Because we’re trying to erase the distinction of identity and role when it’s like, no, I want to keep those distinctions on both genders and say, “How do you actually do it for both of you?” Because it is unfair to only ask one but we should be asking both. 

That’s just a random little tangent of I think this is playing out in a million different ways in our culture right now and we have to just see first page of scripture is that the image bearing-ness of God is male and female and there is exceptions, even, in regards to gender and parity and all these different things in regards to … I would say Mark Yarhouse is a great resource, John Tyson’s a great resource but 99.9% is male in female in the sense of I’m speaking of more like intersex and stuff like that. Those don’t negate, exceptions never negate the blueprint, so we have to understand that God has a vision and a blueprint and that speaks to us. Jesus clearly does the same thing. Whenever people brought up to him marriage or sexual questions or any of those questions he always returned to the garden and the vision of the blueprint. Something about that is clear from the mouth of Jesus that’s going to inform us towards wisdom so I feel like yeah, that’s what we have to make sure to be doing and it’s clearly not the goal is to just be like boys or to just get the same opportunities as boys. 

the goal is actually to be formed in the image of Jesus as an image bearer of God in your actual gender distinction. When you understand that, man, that’s where I think he wants us and that’s where flourishing is. 

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