Over the decades, psychologists have gathered quite a lot of data on fatherhood and the role it plays in the lives of children. For example, there is data from social and developmental psychology which tells us that parental rejection affects children more when it stems from fathers. But what does the hard science of biology tell us about human fatherhood?
Recently, a friend of mine was asked why she chose to work, and not stay home full-time with her child, even though her husband makes enough money to support their family. The question is unsurprising given the ongoing pressure on Christian women to prioritize home and family over career and calling. It seems that Christian women are still expected to choose between the public and the private.
When my brother and his wife announced their unexpected pregnancy, my family was shocked. My brother and his now wife have been together for fourteen years, got engaged in January, and married in June. A whole two months later, the couple announced that they were expecting a baby. Timing is a strange thing in their world, and given that they are both almost forty years old, we were rightly shocked.
Instead of allowing fairy tales to reinforce gender stereotypes, Christians can use them as an opportunity to show girls how they can live out the calling of all followers of Christ to follow in his footsteps.
This passage reminds me of my experience serving in a leadership position at a church several years ago. I had four children, the youngest of which was a three year-old. Like most toddlers, he wanted to be close to Momma whenever possible. Occasionally, he even managed to escape undetected out of kid’s church between services to look for me. When he found me, he did not want to let go! He didn’t make a scene; he just wanted to be close.
Try as we might, there is no way to equally share the joys and struggles of carrying a child, giving birth, and breastfeeding. When my husband and I were ready to grow our family, I wondered how we would be able to maintain our nontraditional gender roles and split work equally.
I was raised in Christian purity culture. I proudly wore my “True Love Waits” ring. I read Joshua Harris’s Christian cult classic, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. And today, I’m a psychologist and a vocal critic of purity culture.
As egalitarians, we must acknowledge the extra difficulties we are currently experiencing on top of the usual challenges of working toward mutuality in a culture which seems to assume traditional gender roles.
In this thought-provoking book, male and female writers tackle important subjects: What does the Bible say about gender? What does it mean to live in a female or male body? How do we create homes and relationships that value men and women equally? How does gender intersect with race or age? How do we raise children in nonsexist ways?