February 14, 2008 by Stacy McDonald
|Tiffany speaking to a group of ladies at a women’s event|
Question: Stacy, you mentioned that your daughters stay home under your protection. Do sons need this same protection? If not, why not? – R4md Mom
Hi R4md Mom,
What a good question! First, let me point out that when I say we “protect” our daughters, I do not mean that we treat them as perpetual children who are not allowed to make mistakes, do things on their own, or face any sort of danger. My adult daughters are protected just as I, as a woman in the family, am protected; and they are also treated as adults. (By the way, being an adult does not mean you “do your own thing.”) Our girls are very capable, intelligent, strong, outgoing, and connected to our family.
Here’s one example: My 22-year-old daughter (who still lives at home) is getting ready to launch her own sewing business (with the assistance of her younger sister, Jessica). This was her idea, her talent, and her love. I do not sew! She runs most of the errands and does most of the grocery shopping for our family (because she actually thinks it’s fun!); she enjoys a rich and wholesome social life among other Christians, both within and without our church; and she enhances our family table with her gourmet style cooking and delectable desserts (just ask the boys at church!).
When she runs errands or goes to different events, she almost always brings along a few siblings. She loves photography and her favorite thing to take pictures of is…you guessed it…her family!
Tiffany is one of the piano players at our church, helps with homeschooling, and teaches historical dancing to willing learners. Tiffany’s creative flair, sharp wit, and challenging theological debates with her father add excitement to our family! She is hardly a pampered princess pining away in an ivory tower! She is an active, creative, vital part of our family! Though she is looking forward to being a wife and mother, she is not obsessed with the idea. She’s content with where God has her.
Her talents and skills add to the way our family is able to minister to others. Next month she will be traveling to another state to spend time with a pregnant mother of many little ones who is having a difficult pregnancy. She’ll help run the household while this mama gets the bed rest she needs for a healthy pregnancy.
Our other daughters are also very, very talented and amazingly capable (and you should taste Melissa’s scones!) Did I mention they are cute too? (how’s that Jess?). But, since Tiffany’s the oldest at home, and her birthday is coming up, I thought I’d brag on her a little! ;-) Love ya, Tiff!
Though we live in a society that wants to blur the differences between men and women, most of society still protects women to some degree. For instance, women are especially warned about walking alone at night, while men are not usually given the same warning or offer of protection. In fact, a man who asked for that sort of protection would probably be viewed as a wimp!
When we lived in Houston it was suggested that women walking to their cars at night from the mall ask a security guard to escort them to their vehicle. It was generally understood that women were more at risk of being harmed, raped, or even kidnapped than men were. Surely, either sex could be assaulted – especially in a bad neighborhood or in a city; but it was generally expected that a woman needs an escort, or some sort of extra precaution, and a man does not.
A special measure of honor is given to a lady, “the weaker vessel,” by a gentleman. Interestingly, this is unique to the Christian lifestyle. Heathen cultures do not honor or value women – and even their version of “protecting” women has more to do with selfishness and possessiveness (kind of like protecting your livestock) than it does truly protecting or valuing them.
Matthew Henry had this commentary on 1 Peter 3:7)
She is the weaker vessel by nature and constitution, and so ought to be defended: but then the wife is, in other and higher respects, equal to her husband; they are heirs together of the grace of life, of all the blessings of this life and another…The weakness of the female sex is no just reason either for separation or contempt, but on the contrary it is a reason for honour and respect: Giving honour to the wife as unto the weaker vessel.
There’s a book I’d like to review soon called Unprotected that gives very real examples of how vulnerable young women are in university settings. The author exposes the hook-up culture with very candid stories of real heartbreaking accounts. Some of the examples are shocking. It’s written by a campus counselor who got tired of being limited by what type of counsel she could give her students. Pills, abortion, and condoms were ok, but God, the Bible, and real facts about STDs and immoral lifestyles were forbidden.
Granted, many of the issues in the book cover problems that both young women and young men face on American campuses, but the vulnerability of the girls was particularly disturbing.
While we must equip both our sons and our daughters to be strong lights in a dark age, our sons are likely to be called to lead and provide for their families, while our daughters are likely to be called to be helpers. Even if they’re never called to marriage, our hope is that our daughters will feel welcome and content as helpers in our home – or even in the church. If God were to never bring them husbands and we were to die (the grand “what-if” question we’re asked), and nobody was willing to take them into their own family, then we are perfectly confident in their capabilities, and especially in God’s provision.
Our daughters are much more capable of taking care of themselves than I was at their age and I still managed to find a very good job (without having attended college) when I had to. College and being groomed for independent living isn’t the magic pill so many people think it is. Sometimes it can even make one less equipped for life’s trials. Talk to women who were raped while living alone; indoctrinated by feminist, atheist professors; or duped into putting off marriage or children (for the sake of a degree or a career) until it was too late.
Our sons must learn not only to protect and provide for themselves, but also to protect and provide for a wife and children. It is consistent with our beliefs to expect a young man to learn to “fend for himself” or “make his fortune” (at the right age) in preparation for leading and caring for a family.
For the record, how we raise our daughters is a personal choice. Yes, we believe keeping daughters home and protected until marriage is a “better” choice, but we realize not everyone will agree. And even those who do, may not agree with what that looks like exactly. At the same time, we do NOT believe that families who choose to send their daughters away to college are in sin. They very well may be – just as some who keep their daughters home may be in sin. Only God knows our motives.
But according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” (1 John 3:4)
There is no law that says “Thou shalt not send your daughter away to college.” For us, it’s kind of like homeschooling. We do not believe that it’s inherently sinful to send your child to a government school. However, since we are given the responsibility to train up our children in the ways of God night and day (Deut. 6:7-9), and to ensure that they grow up with a thoroughly Christian worldview, we feel like the best (if not the only) way to ensure that this is done (especially these days) is to teach them at home.
We are certainly willing to defend our case for why we believe what we believe, but that does not mean we are condemning anyone who believes differently on areas that are not sin. I have found it amazing how little grace we’ve been given by other Christians for the way we raise our daughters.
The non-Christians we know are curious about our lifestyle and love being around our family and especially our daughters. They ask all sorts of questions and we’ve had more opportunities to witness about Jesus because of the wholesome presentation and availability (for hospitality and service) of our daughters than any other reason. I’ve decided that sometimes the heathen are a lot easier to deal with than go-with-the-flow Christians. I’d rather minister to a teachable heathen over a prideful, defensive Christian any day!
Update: Tiffany became Mrs. Benjamin Hector on on May 15, 2010. To God be the glory!
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