Friday, August 20, 2010

Weighing in on Danielle's Article

After reading Danielle Bean's latest column Newsflash to Jennifer Aniston, I began to type a comment. Next thing I knew, the combox had become a blog post. To know the difference you have to be a blogger.  A blog post is a bit lengthier than a comment and deserves more space. ;-)

You also have to know when your comment has become your own personal opinion and needs to be moved from a public soapbox into your own private karaoke machine. ;-)

So without taking up more of your space and time ;-) ...

"However politically uncomfortable it makes us, we need to more fully appreciate the complementary differences between the sexes and admit that no one sex can give a child everything he or she needs.

A child is not a lifestyle accessory or a possession that any of us has a right to. Let's be honest about the hurt we cause when we deny children a traditional family life. Even if it conflicts with our own desires, let's do all that we can to give every child a mom and a dad. Even if it requires sacrifice and humility, let's wake up to the consequences of selfish choices and do the right thing -- for the kids."
~ Danielle Bean


For those who disagree w/ Mrs. Bean's article, I think Mrs. Bean was saying that children "deserve" the best of both worlds...father and mother. She says that we should "do all that we can to give every child a mom and a dad."

She isn't saying we will be able to, she says we should do all we can. Is that too much to ask for? At one time it wasn't. Today it seems a novel idea.

It isn't that every child will have that. Not all of us had it in the 30's or 50's or 70's and inbetween. I believe if we reap through the New Testament, we will all agree that St. Joseph probably wasn't around for part of Jesus' life. It is agreed he was not at the Crucifixion:

"Would Jesus, moreover, when about to die on the Cross, have entrusted His mother to John's care, had St. Joseph been still alive?" ~ Catholic Encyclopedia

We all know single parent families, women who left abusive situations for the good of the children, loving fathers who died, fathers who have left their families, etc.  Some of us were raised in these homes. My father-in-law, the second oldest of five, had a father who deserted the family, leaving my father-in-law to become both a provider and a surrogate father to his younger brother and sisters after the death of his older brother. He became the best of fathers to his four sons and four daughter-in-laws. I have often wondered if the pain of that rejection is what laid the foundation and commitment for him to be the best father he could possibly be when it was his turn to father.

If it was...his father taught him that much. The lesson of what not to do when one becomes a father was taught and taught well. Strange twist, huh?

Nowadays children are being denied any kind of father and all the life lessons that fathers can teach.

Mrs. Bean certainly wasn't saying these children are being raised less than perfect. What is perfect? Life is not, as we all know, perfect.  For those times there is the Christian assurance that we, as adopted sons and daughters, have our Father who art in Heaven. That's a great consulation to all Christians.

What I believe Mrs. Bean is saying is that we, as a Christian culture, need to raise the bar for families. We need to tell the next generation that they deserve a mother and a father. There is so much that can be learned from both sexes. Children deserve these lessons...the good, the bad and, yes, even the ugly...because, through these life lessons, God can work great things. Children deserve the lessons that can only be found when male and female raise a child according to the natural law that God endowed us with. In doing so, hopefully, the next generations will have an ideal to go by, a higher standard to live up to.

Anything less is less.

We are not blind to the reality.

My oldest daughter, who has been raised her whole life with a fully-present father, sees the obvious. She was sharing with me just yesterday that she served a co-worker's father the other day and never once did this father acknowledge his own daughter who was working there as well. Never once did he approach her. Never once did he ask to be seated at her table rather than a co-worker. Never once did he cast a glance her way.

Maybe he was an absentee dad when she was growing up. Then again, because of the stereotypes we have labeled all over him and because the world offers no forgiveness, maybe he feels that no matter what he does or what he says, he will be rejected. Why try to cross over the bar? The world has already sealed his fate. He might trip while crossing the bar which has been set so low. The fear of rejection and ridicule keeps him stagnant.

Society is increasingly deceived by Hollywood and accepting of something less than the best for our children. What parent offers less than the best to their child? And is actually HAPPY about offering less? In succumbing to the theory that we can justify the decisions we make at the expense of our children's lives is truly selfish and ultimately deceptive.

What we need to look at is a joint effort within our families and our communities of building-up the men, husbands, and fathers around us rather than tearing them down. For approximately two generations men have been torn down. It has been said that apathy (the absence of emotion) is far more dangerous than hatred.

With no father figure in their life, a child grows up with apathy towards men, especially those who might offer them the relationship of father. From there they have nothing to build on when they become fathers or look for a father for their children. Apathy follows them and extends into all their relationships, including their relationship with God.

Women who have been hurt and wounded are telling men we don't need you when they choose to raise their children without a father and, in doing so, are telling the next generation that they don't need men either, whatever their experience might be. Men are a waste of your time and energy, goes the message. This equates to saying that if males are not worth our time and energy then neither are the relationships found with them. This equates into most relationships being considered (rightly or falsely so) a waste of our time and energy. More and more we are seeing people not willing to invest their time and energy into meaningful, longterm relationships. This creates a dangerous spiral effect. Where does the spiral end?

We are creating (ie: have created) a society which thinks men are weak, egotistical, spineless, and selfish. We are not holding our sons up to be a better father, a better man when we allow Hollywood idols to send out such one-sided opinions. We are telling our sons (through Hollywood standards) that we don't need them to be good role models. Since when does Hollywood define us and set our standards? Certainly not in my house.

It's a sad standard Hollywood sets...and a weak one.

We've done quite a job, in the past two generations, of educating, empowering, and lifting up our daughters. In the process of building up one sex, the other was brought low. Too low.

This isn't a competition, folks. We need to regauge, remeasure, and rebuild! We are here to get each other to heaven. Heaven or hell should be the gauge. Not who can out-do the other in this world.

Men will live up to the expectations that are set before them. They did in the days of Ancient Greece and Rome. They do it physically at training rooms and gyms everyday across the nation. Why can't we challenge them to do the same mentally and spiritually within their families?

Raise the bar, ladies! Insist that you want something better for your children. Don't settle for a faceless sperm donor! Your child deserves a face and all the facial flaws that come with it. He also deserves the smiles that face is capable of giving.

Will society set the bar higher? I don't know. Maybe not. But I like to think that tomorrow's fathers (who are the sons of today) deserve the chance to have the chance and that today's fathers and mothers have the wisdom and, yes, the strength to offer them the chance.

That's what traditional families offer. Something that is still alive and well today. Just ask me. I can show you numerous couples who live this life everyday.

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