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.
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.
Economically, teaching girls has the most significant impact of development funds, as seen in education and health outcomes. Come and hear inspiring stories of “education for liberation” from my experiences as a missionary teacher among the Maasai in Tanzania, East Africa. Beyond economics and development, this session develops the title’s theme with a biblical application from the Book of Ruth, incorporating intercultural interpretation and illustrated by stories of Tanzania women.
Hidden behind much patriarchal thinking is a pervasive patrilineal worldview. The belief that the family line is a male line and that males own and inherit the resources, has colored nearly all our cultures in the past and still accounts for much oppression and sidelining of women. Beulah will speak from her experience in south Asian culture, recognizing that, within families, women often become the perpetrators of discrimination against females. Does that happen to some extent near all of us? The Bible culture too is patrilineal. How shall we view that?
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.
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.